AP 290: Research Activities And Pilot Projects

Instruction & Assessment


The Superintendent recognizes the Division’s responsibility to share educational experiences; to this end, opportunities exist for individuals to interact with the system and its schools.


A. Action Research: Shall refer to a disciplined process of inquiry conducted by and for those taking the action. The primary reason for engaging in action research is to reveal methods or strategies to improve or refine one’s actions, therefore creating systemic efficiency.

B. Pilot Project: Shall refer to an activity involving “action research” that utilizes a wide variety of evaluative, investigative and analytical research methods designed to diagnose problems or weaknesses—whether organizational, academic, or instructional—to help educators develop practical solutions to address problems more expediently and efficiently.

C. Research Activity: Shall refer to a systematic inquiry that investigates hypotheses, suggests new interpretations of data or texts, and poses new questions for future research to explore.

D. External Research Request: shall refer to any request by an external party (not a Parkland School Division employee) to conduct research about the Division, or within the Division.


1. All applications to undertake action research, pilot projects or any other research activity or surveys within the school system, or to obtain assistance from the system with respect to studies or research projects shall be submitted to the Superintendent or designate for approval.

2. Requests to undertake graduate level research or graduate survey studies within the Division shall be submitted to the Superintendent for approval.

2.1. Principals shall ensure that area Superintendents are informed about staff who are conducting post-graduate studies as prudent to do so.

3. Research projects undertaken by or for the system shall be conducted and/or coordinated by the Superintendent or designate.

4. All requests to conduct research, action research or pilot projects shall include the following:

4.1.  The name of the process;

4.2.  The aim of the process (i.e., what is the intent?); the aim shall include a statement of the problem to be solved (i.e., what is to be expected);

4.3.  The scope of research intended; the scope shall include the timeframe of research, the individuals involved and the budget required in a manner that respects resource stewardship;

4.4.  The degree to which the research will have recognizable value to the Division and/or to education in general;

4.5.  The degree to which the content of any proposed questionnaire or survey instrument may be deemed objectionable to staff, students, or parents;

4.6.  The reasonableness of time required for involvement of students or teachers; and

4.7.  The willingness of schools or individuals to participate.

5. All applications shall be satisfactorily completed at least one (1) month in advance of the study and shall be submitted to the Superintendent or designate. Timelines shorter than one (1) month may be considered if extenuating circumstances exist.

6. Should the Superintendent or designate deem that a request for external research exist in competition to an internal request, preference for approval shall be given to the internal request (Division staff).

7. The Superintendent or designate may consider the number of research studies planned or underway in the Division in order to provide approval.

8. The Superintendent or designate shall notify the research applicant of approval or denial.

9. The Associate Superintendent – Corporate Supports and Services shall be responsible for reviewing the financial arrangements for research projects.

10. Research studies shall be conducted according to the following procedures:

10.1.  Upon completion of the study, the researcher shall be required to submit to the Superintendent a complete report plus an abstract describing the project and the findings;

10.2.  The Superintendent or designate shall, when necessary, ensure that the contents of a study are held in confidence; and

10.3.  The Superintendent or designate shall, when necessary, ensure that results contributing to increased learning are shared accordingly when prudent to do so and with the proper permission of the researcher or research institution.

11. Externally initiated research projects may be terminated at any time if, in the judgment of the Superintendent or designate, the guidelines established for the study have been violated.


Date Approved: September 10, 2019

Reference: Panel on Research Ethics
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

Reviewed or Revised:
Executive: January, 2021

References shall be updated as required and do not require additional approval.