Issues in Educational Research, 3(1), 1993, 56-57.

Policy on research in government schools

Ministry of Education WA

During the 1970s and 1980s the central office of the Education Department and later the Ministry of Education, took responsibility for approving proposals for outside researchers to conduct research in government schools. In recent years awareness of the importance of consultation and discussion as bases for decision-making in schools has grown. This approach is consistent with the process of devolution.

The Policy and Guidelines statement (next page) is intended to reflect the changing responsibilities in the decision-making process concerning research in government schools and is based on the following principles:

Further information if required may by obtained from Corporate Management on (09) 264 4582.

8 October 1992

Policy on research in government schools

  1. Individual schools shall determine whether to participate in research projects proposed by agencies outside the Ministry.
  2. Responsibility for the quality control of the research, with particular regard to ethics and methodology, shall reside with the research institution initiating the project.
  3. Where a researcher seeks the involvement of a large number of schools, or where a State sample is required for a national study, the proposal should be forwarded to the central office.
  4. Participation in surveys of teachers initiated outside the Ministry should be a matter for the discretion of individual teachers.
  5. The health of students should not be put at risk as a consequence of participation in a research project.


  1. Schools are encouraged to participate in educational research where possible.
  2. Schools should require that researchers draw attention in their research proposals to any controversial issues They should seek parent comment and discuss these matters in their school decision-making groups before deciding whether to participate.
  3. Where proposals for research which involve a number of schools are forwarded to the central office, officers with substantive responsibility or the relevant content area should determine whether participation is in the interests of the Ministry Individual schools which are then approached by the researcher retain the authority to decide whether to participate.
  4. Schools should require written evidence that research proposals have been thoroughly vetted, with respect to ethics and methodology by the research institutions.
  5. Before agreeing to participate, schools should understand what they are being asked to contribute in terms of time, personnel, students, space, organisation, etc and what they will get in return.
  6. If the request for participation is from a non-tertiary or commercial organisation, schools should be assured of the benefit to education of the proposed research and the bona fides of the researcher(s) who will carry out the work.

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