• Conducting Research in Portland Public Schools

    Thank you for your interest in conducting research at Portland Public Schools. School Board policy requires that all research requests in the school district be reviewed and receive approval from the Research Review Committee in the Systems Planning and Performance Department. 

    Timeline and submission information

    For research to be conducted in the current school year proposals must be received by April 1st. Proposals received after April 1 will be considered for the following school year. Any proposals received will be reviewed in the months: October, December, February, April.

    PPS and this internal research review committee are committed to equitably supporting every student, especially our Black and Native American students who experience the greatest barriers.

    In order to preserve as much instructional time with students as possible and allow staff to focus on re-engaging with students, we are limiting the number and type of research proposals that we review in the 2020-21 school year. We are not accepting research proposals that do not directly examine student engagement and academic and social-emotional outcomes. Projects that have one or more of the following criteria may contact research@pps.net to be considered for review.

    • No primary data collection from staff or students
    • No use of instructional time
    • Examine student engagement or academic/social-emotional outcomes
    • Research questions that specifically examine the impact of distance learning or alternate instructional models
    • Aligned with district priorities for 2020-21


    Process and requirements for research

    Portland Public Schools requires that all researchers submit a proposal prior to conducting research. The Research Review Committee in the System Planning & Performance Department reviews all research proposals.

     Please use the link below to submit your research proposal addressing the PPS Research Proposal Evaluation Criteria.

    <<PPS Research Review Application>> (temporarily suspended at this time)


    Action Research

    Action research is any systematic inquiry conducted by teacher researchers to gather information about the ways that their particular school operates, how they teach, and how well their students learn. The information is gathered with the goals of gaining insight, developing reflective practice, effecting positive changes in the school environment and on educational practices in general, and improving student outcomes. (Mills, 2003, p. 4, italics added). For PPS research review purposes, action research is generally limited to an individual classroom with the research outcomes/products used only to inform teacher practice and in some cases for meeting a university or college course requirement. In the case of meeting a course requirement, the research results are not published or shared beyond the college/university classroom. Theses and Dissertations are published documents. Therefore, they need to follow the regular research submission process. All action research needs to follow FERPA guidelines. Student data cannot be presented, reported, or released to universities or outside groups without submitting a formal research proposal to PPS Research Review Committee.


    Additional Requirements for Approved Research:

    • All persons working with a project on Portland School District grounds must receive a background check conducted by PPS Security Services (forms available from review committee AFTER proposal has been approved.) and must always be accompanied by a PPS staff member.
    • Persons working unsupervised with students must be fingerprinted—cost is researcher’s responsibility.
    • All persons working with a project on Portland School District grounds must be covered by worker compensation.
    • A copy of the final research product must be submitted to the Systems Planning and Performance Department.


    PPS Employees

    PPS employees completing coursework or degree requirements are subject to the research proposal requirements as stated above.


    Internal Survey Administration at PPS

    Contact the review committee at research@pps.net if you need to conduct a survey that includes one or more of these criteria:

    • Includes survey questions of a potentially sensitive nature
    • Involves respondents outside your assigned school or department
    • Participation is required
    • Any results will be publicly available (e.g., published on a school website, higher education classroom presentation, academic conferences, etc.)
    • Will be used to complete coursework or degree requirements


    Contact information

    Research Review Committee


  • Do You Have a Research Question?
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