Protection of Human Subjects

Most formal institutions in education and human services have policies regarding conducting research with human subjects. These policies often require completion of some kind of application for conducting research, which is then reviewed by administrators or by a committee of administrators, practitioners, and researchers. The research review process ensures that: (a) organizational operations (e.g., classrooms, service centers) are not interrupted unnecessarily; (b) institutional resources are being put to the best use; and (c) the rights of human subjects are protected as required by law such as confidentiality and anonymity.

Practitioners leading a research study should obtain approval before conducting research. Policies vary greatly across institutional contexts, and it is important that practitioner-researchers and action-researchers are well informed regarding relevant policies and procedures for conducting research within their context. As an example, most school districts have a research review committee. Teachers, librarians, or school nurses are required to follow procedures established by such committees to obtain approval before conducting research. In situations such as small school districts with a small number of schools, practitioners may not find a formal review committee. In this scenario, responsibility for approval of research projects may lie with site administrators (for example, principal or assistant principal) and/or a district-level administrator (for example, superintendent or assistant superintendent).

The Social Publishers Foundation requires that all proposals for research projects have met the relevant policies set by the institution within which the practitioner-research will be conducted. As project review and approval times by institutions can vary greatly (with some institutions requiring as much as 2 to 3 months of advance time for project review), the Foundation urges all applicants to carefully consider the time needed for acquiring approval for research when developing the overall timeline for the proposed project. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.

The Foundation requires that Certification items be completed for each proposed research project.

View the "Certification of Approval" form below to help you plan ahead.