Research Approval Process

Data collection and research efforts within Fairfax County Public Schools require approval

We are committed to quality external research studies being conducted in our school district. Any research or data collection (including recruitment activities) in our schools requires our approval. We review requests to:

  • Protect student and staff time;
  • Confirm compliance with federal, state, and local laws and FCPS policies; and
  • Ensure there is benefit to our school district.

To learn more about our screening process, read our FAQs which also includes tips for successful application and common reasons applications are rejected. Researchers are strongly encouraged to read the FAQs prior to completing the application.

Who Can Apply

  • External individual or organization;
  • All dissertation candidates;
  • FCPS employee seeking to do research for graduate course work or personal research project.

Who Cannot Apply

  • Non-FCPS employees seeking to do research for undergraduate, master’s-level, or doctoral-level course work (including Capstone projects);
  • Vendors who are seeking to test a product for commercial purposes not related to the FCPS mission to educate children.

How to Apply

  • Submit a complete application and required supplementary documents to the Division Research Screening Committee by the below deadlines.

SY 2023-24

Submission Deadlines Anticipated Decision Dates
Monday, May 1 Monday, June 12
Monday, July 3 Monday, August 14
Tuesday, August 1 Monday, September 11
Monday, October 2 Monday, November 14
Friday, December 1 Friday, January 19
Thursday, February 1 Wednesday, March 13
*Monday, April 1 Monday, May 13

* April deadline is only for studies requesting data release. Studies proposing new data collection during the 2023-24 school year are considered only if submitted for review between May 2023 and February 2024. 

  • A signed sponsorship form must be received from your sponsor for your application to be considered complete. This sponsor must be an FCPS staff member who is in a leadership level position in FCPS.  For more information on how to find a sponsor and the level of position required to sponsor, visit our FAQs.
  • Pay the application fee electronically.

Fees and Payment

  • $25 non-refundable application fee.
  • Additionally, an hourly rate of $50 will be charged if your application involves a request for existing data that requires one or more hours of staff time.

Beginning May 1, 2020, only electronic payment is accepted. Payments may be made by credit/debit card or electronic check.

Getting Active Consent

We require active consent for any data collection and release of protected data when the data identifies individual students, parents, or staff. We reserve the right to require active consent even if it is not required by state code or has been waived by an Institutional Review Board.

If you wish to audio or video-record as a part of your data collection, separate signature acknowledging this aspect of consent is required.

Read more about consent requirements in the FAQs.

Reserved Periods in FCPS (Blackout Windows)

Approved data collection and research studies are not allowed at schools during the time periods described below:

  • During beginning-of-year activities (SY 2023-24: August 7, 2023 through September 4, 2023).
  • During divisionwide standardized testing and end-of-year culminating activities (SY 2023-24: April 8, 2024 through May 31, 2024).

Please also consult the school year calendar and be aware of time periods when students and/or staff may be unavailable or not in school buildings.

Whom Should I Contact if I have More Questions

For general questions about external research approval or questions specific to the Division Research Screening Committee: Contact the Office of Research and Strategic Improvement by telephone at 571-423-1430 or via email at [email protected].

For questions specific to the School Research Screening Committee: Contact the Principal at the specific school at which you wish to conduct your data collection.

For questions specific to the Student Scientific Research Committee: Contact the Office of PreK-12 Curriculum and Instruction, Science Section, at 571-423-4780.


Frequently Asked Questions


Pay My Research Fees