WCDSB Research

Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) supports research activities in its schools and departments. Individuals interested in conducting research involving WCDSB schools, staff, students or parents must follow the processes detailed in this guide. These processes apply to:

  • All research activities that take place on school premises during the school day
  • Recruitment of any study participants from WCDSB school communities (e.g., teachers, students, staff) for research activities that occur off WCDSB sites

Although WCDSB is proud to collaborate with and support both internal and external researchers, we are also mindful that our priority is to students’ education. Research activities must not compromise or interfere with students’ access to high quality academic programs.

Individuals interested in accessing WCDSB schools/departments are asked to carefully read over these guidelines and submit the appropriate documentation. All requests to conduct research with WCDSB are reviewed by the Research and Advisory Committee.

Any activities related to a research project may not commence without prior review by the Research and Advisory Committee. Once the research project has been approved, school principals and/or department managers must be willing to accommodate the study in their setting. Approval does not guarantee that a study will be accommodated by principals and/or department managers. Likewise, approval by Principals and/or department managers does not represent board approval.

In order to facilitate a streamlined process, the Research Coordinator will post approved research projects to all board staff and/or stakeholders (e.g., principals, trustees, students, parents, etc.).


We will be accepting proposals for research projects pertaining to the following Areas of Focus:

  • Mathematics education at the elementary and secondary level
  • Student Mental Health and Well-being
  • Early Years education (Kindergarten to Grade 2) related to literacy and self-regulation
  • Inquiry based learning environments, including those accelerated by technology and digital resources
  • Engagement of students who are non-attendees or early leavers
  • Parent Engagement in relation to student achievement and well-being
  • Alignment to our Board Improvement Plan (BIPSA)
Applications are accepted during the following three time points with an approximate 8-12 week start date from the time of submission:

Submission date: September 15th
Earliest approximate: Late November

Submission date: November 15th
Earliest approximate: Mid-February

Submission date: February 15th
Earliest approximate: Mid-April

The Research and Advisory Committee provides research and analysis services to the board, using best-quality evidence to assist WCDSB in making decisions. The Research and Advisory Committee also reviews and makes recommendations for all requests that external researchers submit to conduct research in WCDSB.

Once the hard copy or electronic application package is received, our Research Advisory Committee will conduct a thorough review and communicate issues that need clarification or modification to the Principal Investigator. Once all concerns have been addressed satisfactorily the Research Coordinator will seek approval from the WCDSB Research and Advisory Committee. The review and approval of the study will consider such factors as:

  • compliance with the Tri-Council ethical guidelines
  • educational relevance
  • alignment with the above stated board priorities
  • appropriateness of the study for WCDSB staff/students
  • cost-benefit for students, teachers, and schools
  • amount of staff and/or student time required
  • appropriateness of the timing of the request (e.g., exam period, report cards)
  • conflicts with any ongoing studies or programs

The Research Coordinator will notify the Principal Investigator of the final decision. If the study receives approval, the Research Coordinator will notify principals or staff of the opportunity to participate in the research project and will encourage staff to contact the Principal Investigator if interested.

For school level projects: Principals have the final decision as to whether their school becomes involved in a research project. Principals who feel that a study is not suitable for their staff, students, and/or parents are under no obligation to participate.
For Board and Department level projects: Managers will have the final decision as to whether staff will participate in the research project. Managers are under no obligation to take part in any research activities.

Researchers are asked to refrain from directly contacting WCDSB staff and stakeholders (e.g. principals, teachers, trustees, students, parents, etc.) until their research application has been approved and coordinating efforts have been established with the Research and Advisory Committee.

The researcher is expected to notify the Research Coordinator of the schools/departments involved in the study and to contact the Research Coordinator if any changes to the research protocol are made or if any problems arise (e.g., critical incident reported).

Data and research materials must be gathered and handled in a manner consistent with the highest standards of ethical and scholarly practice. Fraud, falsification of data, or other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated, and will cause immediate revocation of the permission to conduct research.

All researchers who conduct studies within the WCDSB are encouraged to submit a copy of their findings. Copies should also be made available to participating schools/staff. Future requests to conduct research at WCDSB will not be reviewed until final reports of completed studies have been received.

Contact Information

Please contact the Research Coordinator for any questions or concerns regarding these guidelines and the application process.

E-mail: Kelly.Roberts@wcdsb.ca
Tel: 519-578-3660 x2417