Institutional Review Board Information for Principals  

Rules for Research

Research can only happen with the approval of the IRB, you, and study participants!

  • The DOE IRB ensures that research does not compromise the rights of students and their parents or disrupt instructional activity in our schools.
  • Even if the IRB and principal have approved the study, participation for school staff and students is also strictly voluntary. School staff must give their consent. Families must consent for their child to participate. Students must give assent.
  • Even if the DOE IRB has approved the study, principals may decline their school’s participation in a study, or withdraw from participation at any time without penalty.

The researcher must follow the rules!

  • Researchers must show principals two documents:
    1. A DOE IRB Approval Letter
    2. An informational Principal Letter approved by the IRB
  • Anyone conducting research in NYC schools must be fingerprinted and pass security clearance before going into schools.
  • Except for classroom observations, research should not be conducted during instructional time and research activities should be scheduled in collaboration with the principal and participants.
  • NYC law prohibits compensating DOE employees for participation in research studies. Schools and individual classrooms can be compensated via donation online services such as

The researcher must do the work!

  • Principals may not assist researchers in identifying or recruiting school staff, classrooms or students for participation in research studies, with the exception of staff who teach specific grades or are responsible for specialized curricula/initiatives.
  • Parental consent forms sent home with students should be returned to the researcher (not to school staff) or placed in a secure sealed box in the school, with the principal’s permission.
  • School staff should not provide student administrative records to researchers; researchers can request data online. For more information on requesting data online, see our overview of the Data Request Process. Obtaining identifiable student data requires active parent/guardian consent.

If principals have any questions or are being asked to participate in activities outside the approved scope of research, they can email or call the IRB Director at 212-374-3913.

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