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  • Submitting Research Proposals

    IMPORTANT NOTES regarding the 2019-20 Academic Year:

    Anyone wishing to conduct research in the Los Angeles Unified School District must obtain approval from the Committee for External Research Review (CERR). Only proposals that have a clear and direct benefit to the district in terms of informing practice will be considered for approval. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the committee chair, Dr. Katherine Hayes.

    Application Windows:

    We are accepting proposals to conduct research involving LAUSD resources during the following periods:

    • October 2019
    • April 2020


    The Approval Process

    A. General Directions

    Please review the following checklist of research proposal submission form. The following materials are required for the online research proposal submission form. We recommend you complete the following sections in a Microsoft Word document, save it, and then copy and paste into the online submission form.

    The link to the online submission form is listed at the end of this proposal submission description.

    You will not be able to save your submission unless all required fields are completed. You are unable to save information to edit at a later time. We recommend that you copy and paste information into the required fields to ensure all information is saved. Each field has a character limit of 2500 characters. You can use the character count tool in Microsoft Word to count all characters.

    You will receive a confirmation email once your proposal is submitted with a proposal identification number. You will need to refer to this number if resubmission is required.

    Please contact Dr. Katherine Hayes, the CERR chair, if you have any questions. She can be reached at 213-241-5153. Her email is kathy.hayes@lausd.net. If you are sending an email with a question about the online submission form for a proposal you already submitted, please title the subject of the email as follows:

    Your Last Name, Research Proposal Title, Reason for Contact (in 5 words or less)

    B. Checklist for Online Research Proposal Submission Required Items

    Please note the order and format of each question and field as it will appear on the online form. This will allow you to easily copy and paste your information from your Word document. Descriptions for each item are also available on the online form.

    All fields are required on the online research proposal submission form.

    Background Information

    • Proposal Submission Window (A drop down menu of date options is given)
    • Researcher First Name
    • Researcher Last Name
    • Researcher Title (A drop down menu is provided with the following categories: Principal Investigator, Project Manager, Doctoral Candidate, Master's Candidate, Contractor or 'Add New Choice')
    • Address
    • Phone Number
    • Affiliation (A drop down menu is provided with the following categories: College/University, Organization, Research Institute, or 'Add New Choice').
      • Professional: Research is sponsored by universities, governmental agencies, or by similar non-profit organizations engaged in scholarly research.
      • Graduate student: Research is sponsored by a college/university and supervised by a faculty member. Please include a letter of sponsorship from the faculty advisor. This letter should have your faculty advisor's contact information and should be included in the Appendix.
      • Other: Research may sometimes be sponsored by a for-profit entity such as a textbook publisher, or a non-profit agency with a primary mission other than scholarly research. Because of the potential for biased outcomes, inappropriate incentives, and misappropriation of public resources, the proposal will be held to an extremely high standard of validity and justification in terms of benefit to the District. 
    • Name of Institution
    • Applicant's E-Mail Address The confirmation of submission containing the proposal confirmation number will be sent to this e-mail address.
    • Please indicate if the main contact information is the same as the researcher contact information listed above. (Please indicate 'yes' or 'no' on the drop down menu. If you answer 'no,' indicating that the main contact information is different, you will need to complete the next three fields. If you answer 'yes,' no further information regarding the contact person is necessary.
      • Main Contact First Name
      • Main Contact Last Name
      • Main Contact E-Mail Address The confirmation of submission containing the proposal confirmation number will be sent to this e-mail address. 
    • LAUSD Employee (Please indicate 'yes' or 'no' on the drop down menu.)
    • Will you be conducting research in your own classroom, at your own school, or in your own district office? (Please indicate 'yes' or 'no' on the drop down menu.)


    • Proposal Title
    • Type of Research (A drop down menu is provided with the following categories: Action research, Archival study, Case study, Evaluation, Experiment, Intervention, Qualitative, or 'Add New Choice').
    • Study Start Date (The exact date must be selected)
    • Study End Date (The exact date must be selected)
    • Which Department will benefit from your work? (A drop down menu is provided with the following categories: Budget Services and Financial Planning, Human Resources/Talent Management, Intensive Support and Intervention, Curriculum and Instruction, Health and Human Services, Beyond the Bell/Supplemental Education Services, Special Education, Health and Curriculum or 'Add New Choice').
    • Abstract (2500 character limit) Please provide a brief, comprehensive summary of your research proposal indicating the purpose of the research, research questions, hypotheses (if applicable), description of research participants, research method (s), analytic approach and implications (approx. 200 words).
    • Statement of Purpose (2500 character limit) State clearly what you intend to accomplish with this research.
    • Literature Review/Theoretical Framework (2500 character limit) Please provide a brief statement of the theoretical basis for your study from prior published research (include reference citations in APA format) and what contribution your work is expected to make to your field. Include a Reference List in the Appendix.
    • Research Questions/Hypotheses (2500 character limit) Please state briefly the research questions you plan to address, along with any necessary hypotheses. Hypotheses are not required for qualitative research studies.
    • Methods (Design - 2500 character limit) Please describe the methods that you plan to use and how they will be used to address your research questions.
    • Methods (Sampling and Recruitment - 2500 character limit) Please describe the target population, sampling frame, and selection procedures.
    • Methods (Measures - 2500 character limit) Please describe the instruments of measurement you plan to use. Please include results from pilot testing and/or other evidence for the validity of the instruments. Although conditional approval may be granted on the basis of preliminary instruments, the complete and finalized instruments must be submitted before the project can begin.
    • Methods (Data Collection - 2500 character limit) Please describe the method of data collection and procedures you plan to use.
    • Methods (Type of Data Collection - 2500 character limit) A drop down menu is provided with the following categories: Survey, Interview, Focus Group, Classroom Observation, Shadowing, Secondary Data Analysis or 'Add New Choice').
    • Analysis (2500 character limit): Please describe your anticipated analysis plan, including specifics regarding your treatment of the data, statistical or otherwise.
    • Human Subjects Protections (2500 character limit): State which regulations and ethical codes will govern this research. Describe how the identity of the subjects and data will be protected.
    • Burden to the District (2500 character limit): Please describe the burden that your research will have on the District. The following is required of all research proposals that involve human subjects:
      • The research proposal will clearly state the number of participants, specifying the role of each group of participants. For example: Twenty math teachers in four schools will be observed, six principals will be interviewed, and forty students from five classrooms will be surveyed.
      • The research proposal will clearly state the amount of time to be requested from each participant and when the interaction will occur. For example: Math teachers will be observed for four class sessions during the first two weeks in March.
      • It is the District's interest to minimize the human costs of research. Therefore, the research proposal will provide a clear rationale for the number of participants, the number of contacts, and the total time required by each participant.
      • The research proposal will include a statement of how research participants are to be compensated for their involvement, if at all.
      • Instructional interventions must be approved by the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and School Support (OCISS). Instructional interventions designated for the purpose of a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation will not be accepted.
    • Benefit to the District (2500 character limit): The proposal must identify the benefits that the research is expected to provide to the District in terms of the following areas of interest:
      • Improving educational outcomes across all or selected subgroups of students
      • Improving the design and delivery of services that promote learning
      • Improving the management of the school environment
      • Improving parent involvement in education

    Please indicate how your research will directly benefit the District and how will your findings be shared with sample schools and local districts.

    • Data Request (2500 character limit): Depending on the research design, substantial time and effort may be required for staff to provide requested data with the appropriate selection and matching of records and concealment of personal identities. Cost of data extracts are $100.00 per hour. Approval of proposal will include a time estimate and dollar amount.
    • Submit IRB Clearance: Please indicate if this proposal includes your signed CERR statement of agreement. Your signed CERR statement of agreement is required for submission. (Drop down list of options is given as Yes or No)

    Upload Appendices, IRB, and CERR Statement of Agreement

    You will be asked to upload a PDF or Microsoft Word document for the following:

    • Appendices: Please include all appendices and additional materials in one PDF file, including references, instruments, consent/assent forms, letter from graduate student's sponsor stating that the sponsor has read the CERR proposal and approves it (if applicable), and other supporting documentation.
      *Not required field.
    • IRB: Provide the appropriate IRB documents or evidence that IRB review is not required. Please include all completed IRB submissions in one PDF file.
      *Not required field.

    Online Research Submission Form (activated during application window).

    When you are finished completing the Online Research Submission Form:

    • Review all material because you will not be able to edit once submitted.
    • Click the green "Save" icon in the top right corner of the form.
    • You will receive an error message if you (1) have exceeded the character limit or (2) have not filled out a required field.
    • Fix the errors and scroll to the upload section at the bottom to ensure your uploaded files are still selected (You may have to upload the files again).
    • Once all errors are fixed, click the "Save" icon.
    • If your submission was properly saved the message "Proposal Saved" will appear in green at the top of your screen.
    • You should immediately receive a confirmation e-mail with a proposal identification number assigned to your proposal submission.


    • If you leave the submission form page your proposal will NOT be saved.
    • DO NOT press the Cancel icon unless you would like to exit the proposal submission. Your proposal content will NOT be saved once you cancel.

    C. Statement of Agreement

    We require that all researchers sign a statement of agreement. This statement establishes that your research activities within Los Angeles Unified School District are in compliance with existing legal and ethical codes. It further establishes that the research you perform will not differ significantly from the research proposed, and that you are to provide the Committee with an executive summary of your findings. Violation of this statement of agreement will be considered a breach of contract.

    CERR Statement of Agreement: Please scan your signed CERR statement of agreement and upload in PDF file. *CERR statement of agreement is required.

    Download the Statement of Agreement

    D. Certification to visit classrooms and conduct research with students

    The Committee for External Research Review (CERR) adheres to the District’s Volunteer Policy and Guidelines and must certify each researcher who visits classrooms and/or conducts research with students, even though that individual may not be a volunteer. This occurs via an online application submitted by CERR administrators to the Parent Community Services Branch (PCSB). If your proposal is approved, you will be required to submit the results of a TB test and your name will be checked against the Megan’s Law online database for sex offender clearance. A background check may also be required. For further information regarding the District’s Volunteer Policy and Guidelines, please refer to the following web page:

    Establishing and Administering School/Office Volunteer Programs

    E. Evaluation of Proposals

    The following link provides the approval checklist used by CERR reviewers to determine the quality and applicability of the proposed research. Please use this form in evaluating your own proposal, making sure all requirements are there.

    Download CERR Proposal Review Form