**Please visit https://www.austinisd.org/covid19 for updates and important information regarding AISD’s response to COVID-19.** 

The Austin Independent School District (AISD) supports high quality research that addresses well-informed research questions of educational importance.

AISD has moral and legal obligations that require oversight of research activities that make use of district resources such as data, facilities, employee time, and access to students. AISD’s Department of Research and Evaluation (DRE) utilizes a formal application and review process to better facilitate all research requests.

Contact Information

Jay Brown
External Research Coordinator
Phone (512) 414-9804
Email: externalresearch@austinisd.org

Applying for Research

In order to conduct research in AISD, an application must be submitted to the External Research Coordinator, Jay Brown, the semester before the research is to begin. There are specific application due dates twice a year. Full proposals include the application as well as all appended materials (e.g., protocols, permissions, curricula examples, forms/contracts, etc.). Proposals are reviewed by DRE as well as by content and area experts at AISD. For complete proposals, decisions will be returned to applicants within eight working weeks after the deadline. Please click on the application materials link to the right for more information on the review process and copies of forms.

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, active data collection associated with external research is currently paused as campuses are closed for an indefinite amount of time. 

Capacity to participate in research activities will also be limited when students and staff return to campus locations at a future date. Concerns include safety as well as atypical contexts affecting data collection and research validity. We have created a continuity plan which will impact current research as well as new research planned for the 2020-2021 school year. This will allow campuses flexibility to return to normal working conditions while also providing opportunities for those interested in conducting research within AISD. Please read below for information on new applications, currently approved projects, and specifics for AISD community partners.

We understand that research and research planning will continue, and grow. We provide aid where possible (e.g., answering questions, letters of support, etc.). Contact Jay Brown with questions on collaborations, grant planning, future research, and more.

Application Materials
Requirements for Data Collection and Release
Current Projects


New Applications

Please note, dates and application requirements have been modified for the 2020-2021 school year. 

June 15, 2020 Deadline

The June 1st application deadline has been changed into a data only request and extended to Monday, June 15th. Researchers should prioritize projects that may be accomplished with data collected at the district level. Applications requesting active data collection will not be accepted (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, etc.). We understand that this may limit some projects and/or require study plans to be reconfigured.

We will accept applications requesting secondary analysis of student, staff, and/or campus data. Available data include information collected for state/federal reporting requirements as well as unique information collected by AISD. Researchers may visit TEA for more information on accountability and other statewide reporting requirements. Researchers may also look at interactive reports and publications found on the DRE website; these examples should provide information on types of data available. Those interested in requesting data should complete an application and may contact Jay Brown with questions on specifics (e.g., data types and/or application details). 

October 31, 2020 Deadline

The October 31st application deadline is tentatively scheduled to be open to all projects. This will include both data requests as well as proposals including active data collection. Projects with active data collection should have a start date of fall 2021 or later (i.e., data collection by means of surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, etc. will not resume until the 2021-2022 school year). Proposals will be approved in spring 2021 allowing researchers time to plan and gain site approval; this should make it easier to begin studies as soon as school starts in the fall. 

Note on Pending Applications

There are a number of applications which are considered pending; these include proposals submitted prior to the COVID-19 emergency but not yet approved by AISD. Please contact DRE as soon as possible. We have additional information and options available. For 2020-2021 applicants (i.e., those who submitted early for the June 1st deadline), we will refund application fees or allow applicants to submit alternative proposals. These may include data requests only, alternative start times, etc. For 2019-2020 applicants who have pending edits still in review, we will work to modify and approve information where possible.  

Application Materials


Approved Projects

Projects approved before March 12, 2020 (i.e., a dated and signed approval letter from DRE) may continue research, where possible, when campuses resume classes. Projects must follow design and data collection methods as approved in the initial application. As always, principal approval must be obtained annually, using the Principal Recruitment and Agreement to Participate (PRAP) form. Researchers should gain site approval and collect signatures, then return PRAP forms to external research via email.

When conducting data collection on AISD campuses, researchers must follow all protocols for visitors including any additional requirements added to limit viral contact and spread. Researchers working with students in individual settings must complete a background check. Contact Jay Brown with questions on gaining approval, lost forms, background checks, etc.

Researchers may request a change to an approved project through the Change Request for Approved Projects form. Changes may include: time, logistics, location(s), sampling/participants, methods, and/or protocols. Please make sure to outline all requested changes and reason(s) for the request. Once the form is received, the request will be evaluated and approved according to fit with intended scope of the original, approved project as well as current AISD capacity.

Many researchers will be working to submit progress reporting or amendments to funders, institutions, etc. We are able to aid researchers of approved projects with documentation and other help they may need in relation to studies. Researchers should contact Jay Brown with questions on approved projects. Remember to use the AISD research number (RXX.XX) on all communication.

Change Request for Approved Projects Form


AISD Approved Community Partners

AISD works to coordinate, align, and expand opportunities for our partners in the Austin community. Explore links in this section to find out more about grants, partnerships, and student support. For AISD approved community partners who wish to evaluate their programs, we offer a variety of plans for data and analysis. Partners may submit evaluation plans using the DRE application process.

While the COVID-19 emergency persists, the focus is on helping AISD partners connect with families to offer emergency services and resources. We are working with the Office of Innovation and Development (OID) to help ensure partners have what they need—now and in the future—to help serve students and families. Where possible, some approved partners are also helping to offer continuous learning options. Approved partners may contact Jay Brown for information on alternative permission logistics to help evaluate continuous learning efforts.

We will also continue to help serve AISD approved partners once students return to campuses. Partners may continue their evaluations as planned or modify evaluations using the Change Request for Approved Projects form. Contact Jay Brown with questions on current evaluation projects, modifications, and/or new projects. We will also help answer questions on connected research as many partners are approached independently for research access.

Students, Families, and Data Privacy

Learn more about how AISD maintains research compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) and other regulations regarding students' privacy rights.