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Collecting Data in an Educational Setting

Collecting data in an educational setting requires special consideration as to how you will protect participant privacy, confidentiality, and ability to participate voluntarily. The Board will want to know if you are collecting identifiable data (data that are linked to the participants) and if so, why it is necessary to collect identifying information about the participants. If you are not collecting identifying information, the Board will need to know how you are keeping the data anonymous. The issue of privacy (the ability to participate without others knowing) may not be a risk to most students unless it affects their ability to decide not to participate, or if the topic of the study has the potential to be socially stigmatizing. The ability to participate voluntarily can affect not only students (adults or minor), but parents, teachers, and administrators as well. Please be sensitive to the fact that schools include both employee/employer relationships as well as student/teacher relationships, so it is important that information is communicated in a way that does not put pressure on individuals to participate because they are concerned about loss of grade or status.

The following topics in this section provide additional information about specific scenarios of data collection in an educational setting. The information in the Data Collection Methods section also provides considerations for various data collection methods. In addition, please visit the Data Storage section for more information about proper data storage, particularly digital storage. As with any study in an educational setting, it is possible to exempt the study if it qualifies as Normal Educational Practice; please consider the exemption criteria when considering your data collection methods if you are interested in qualifying for exemption.

Section Topics

Archival Data
>>De-identified Data Sets (non-student records)
>>Data Sets with Identifiers 
Anonymous Survey
Studies Where Students' Identity Is Known

Related Topics

Data Collection Methods
Data Storage
Student Records
Normal Educational Practice

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