The Research and Evidence-Based Practice Department supports the research, improvement planning processes, implementation, monitoring and reporting needs of Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) in pursuit of instructional excellence resulting in improved outcomes for our students.

The department helps stakeholders find, understand, and use the best available data and evidence to make decisions that have a greater likelihood of producing desired outcomes. The department does so by:

  • encouraging the use of evidence-based practices and decision making
  • modelling high standards for research excellence
  • sharing expertise in evaluation and knowledge mobilization
  • supporting community partnerships

Want to conduct research with WRDSB?

The WRDSB believes that research plays an important role in guiding the development of board policies and procedure, operational goals, and plans for improvement both at the school and the board level.

The Research and Evidence-based Practice department works with both internal and external research personnel to conduct research within WRDSB. The department oversees the board’s Research Review Committee, which reviews and approves all research conducted with students, staff, school communities, facilities or programs within WRDSB.

All research conducted within WRDSB must be approved by the Research Review Committee. The review committee meets four times annually to review submitted applications to conduct research. The applications are rigorously reviewed to ensure that they comply with WRDSB criteria.

Potential applicants should read

External research

In consultation with Region of Waterloo Public Health and guidance from the Ministry of Education, WRDSB will continue to restrict the access of all non-essential visitors to WRDSB schools and worksites in an effort to limit person-to-person contact and reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

This decision has the following implications for external research with WRDSB for the 2021-22 school year:

  • Research with WRDSB students, families and staff will not be permitted for the first half of the 2020-21 school year (i.e., from September 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. This includes both in-person research in WRDSB schools/departments and remote research, such as online surveys, interviews and focus groups using online platforms.
  • In January 2022, we will review this decision in consultation with Waterloo Region Public Health and the Ministry of Education, and provide an update about the status of research with WRDSB students, families and staff for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year.

The following types of external research requests will continue to be considered:

  • applications from external researchers who wish to advertise or distribute information about research opportunities that take place outside WRDSB schools and departments at times outside of school/work hours
  • requests to conduct research from the Ministry of Education, and
  • board-directed research related to essential programs that support WRDSB students, families and/or staff

Researchers who have general inquiries about external research, or who wish to submit an application to advertise or distribute information about a research opportunity to WRDSB schools or departments are asked to contact Julie Scott by email at

Important dates

Individuals who wish to conduct research with WRDSB students, staff, and/or families should keep the following information in mind:

Research Application Deadline Estimated Start Date
September 30, 2021 Beginning of November 2021
November 4, 2021 Beginning of January 2022
January 20, 2022 Beginning of March 2022
March 10, 2022* Mid-September 2022

*Note: this deadline is for applications to conduct research at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. Approved projects may begin no earlier than September 19, 2022


Dana Liebermann Finestone, Ph.D.
Senior Manager of Research and Evidence-Based Practice
Twitter: @ResearchWRDSB