Conducting External Research and Evaluation

Overall Process

We view our research projects as proceeding through four stages:

  1. Development
  2. Submission and Review
  3. Support
  4. Dissemination and Integration 
Life cycle of research projects, from "development" (eggs on leaf), to "review" (caterpillar eating leaf), to "support" (pupa), to "dissemination & integration" (butterfly flying over field of flowers).

This working draft of a "Roles and Responsibilities Matrix" summaries key expectations for external researchers, SFUSD leaders and practitioners, and SFUSD's Research Support Team in facilitating productive partnerships and collaborations across all stages of the process.

Developing Research

These frameworks help us to guide conversations with colleagues on the district side when clarifying different departments' overarching research priorities.

The following resources support the collaborative design and development of a potential research project in partnership between researchers and district leaders.

Submitting and Reviewing Research

We believe that engaging in rigorous research can provide a critical source of knowledge to guide decision-making, if that research meets our ABC’s:

The review criteria, looking at how the study aligns, benefits, and costs SFUSD.


At this time, SFUSD is not accepting unsolicited research applications. For more information, please click here: Moratorium on Research Applications [PDF].

Supporting Research

Engaging in research involves ongoing collaboration to ensure that the project is on track and will be able to produce useful information. Unexpected developments may require adapting the study design, data collection plans, or analytical approaches. Continued communication also supports collective sense-making of preliminary findings, which is strengthened by synthesizing the expertise of researchers and practitioners. The following resources help both research and practice partners with these processes.

Integrating Research

We believe it is important not just to disseminate research findings to seed ideas in new contexts, but also to integrate those findings into practice. The resources below provide guidance for effective communication of findings through a variety of written and visual formats, as well as through facilitated dialogue and interaction when interpreting the findings and their implications for action.

For Presentations

For Publications

Timeline for review

Please allow 8 weeks after submitting a completed application for the full review process, to ensure compliance with district priorities and regulations. Note that we do not accept new applications for review between March 15 and August 15. However, we may make some exceptions for projects where there is prior communication about an anticipated proposal.

This page was last updated on January 12, 2024