Research Policies and Procedures

If you are interested in conducting research in, or in soliciting student volunteers from, HELP classes, please review the following document regarding the steps required for obtaining approval.

  • If you do not yet have a topic for your research, review the current HELP Research Agenda for a list of topics that the staff would like to see pursued. These topics are related directly to developing the program, to solving any recent issues, and to investigating particular areas of interest to HELP instructors and/or staff.
  • After you have settled on a research topic with your advisor or professor, you will need to develop a research proposal, which describes the topic and the manner in which you hope to carry out the research. A research proposal submitted to HELP should include the following information:
    • A brief description of your study and the reason for which the study is being conducted (i.e., a course paper, for professional development, etc.)
    • A brief description of the methodology you will employ
    • A timeline for the study, including projected start and end dates
    • Examples of any instruments you will use, if applicable
    • Information about the kind of access to HELP students your study requires, (i.e. class observations, requests for volunteers, etc.)
    • A copy of the consent form(s) you intend to use
    • The handout to be used in soliciting volunteers, if applicable
      • Access to student volunteers is the most common type of access granted to researchers. Thus, if you need volunteers, please include a copy of your one-page handout. The handout should be easy to understand, and it should explain what the students will do, where the data gathering will take place, how long it will take, the language insights HELP students may gain from participating, how volunteers can contact you, and what sort of compensation they will receive (i.e., instructional feedback, a movie ticket, tutoring, proofreading, etc.).
    • Advisor or Professor approval
      • Note: Since HELP does not have the time to help researchers edit their instruments, handouts, or consent forms, you will need to obtain advice and editing help from the professor advising your study. You can copy and paste the following information into a “Statement of Verification” document that your professor will sign:


        Name of Advising Professor:

        I have seen and approved [student’s name]’s proposal for research at HELP, including the research design, the instrument(s) to be used, volunteer handouts (if applicable), and consent forms.


        Advising Professor’s Signature:

    • Submit your proposal to the Research Coordinator Graduate Assistant at The Research Coordinator will verify that all necessary components of the proposal have been included with the email, and she will then forward your proposal to the Assistant Director for approval. Other HELP instructors or staff members may also review your proposal, and if any issues arise, you will be notified so that you can revise the proposal. The HELP Assistant Director may request an in-person meeting with you to clarify particular aspects of your research proposal, and/or she may require that you obtain approval from the Institutional Review Board if your study involves human subjects.
    • The HELP Research Coordinator will contact the teacher(s) you hope to involve in your study to obtain their approval and consent. If, however, you know in advance that you want to conduct your research in a particular classroom, you may want to obtain that teacher’s approval before submitting your proposal to HELP or to the Institutional Research Board.  Email requests for teacher approval are approximately one to two paragraphs in length, and they describe the aims of the study and how the classes/students will be used. Please note that even if the HELP administration approves a project, individual teachers have the right to refuse to participate in the study if they feel the research will interfere with instruction or with the goals of the course.
    • When writing your paper or report, please double-check all “facts” about HELP with the Director or Assistant Director. In addition, if your research was done in specific HELP classes with specific teachers, please allow those instructors to review and to comment on your paper, or at least those parts of your paper that relate to their class or their teaching.
    • Once you have completed your research, please provide the HELP Research Coordinator with an electronic copy of your paper. A PDF version of your paper may be posted on the HELP website so that other researchers and HELP staff have access to your findings. If you do not want to make your project available on the website, please let the staff know. If we do not receive a request from you asking that your paper not be made available on the website, we will assume you have given your consent.

Thank you! We look forward to working with you!