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

Application process

On Thursday, July 30, 2020, the Ministry of Education announced the guidelines for the reopening of Ontario schools for the 2020-21 school year. Included in these guidelines are restrictions on visitors in schools. To limit the number of person-to-person contacts that students and school staff are exposed to, all non-essential external visitors are currently prohibited from WRDSB schools and work sites.

Given these Ministry guidelines, and that our focus must be on the safe reopening of our schools and supporting our students and staff in navigating the challenges presented by COVID-19, we have made the following decisions about external research with WRDSB:

  • Research with WRDSB students, families and staff during the school/work day has been suspended for the 2020-21 school year. This includes both in-person research in WRDSB schools/departments and remote research (e.g., online surveys, interviews/focus groups using online platforms).
  • We will continue to support requests to conduct research from the Ministry of Education.
  • We will also continue to consider:
    • board-directed research related to essential programs that support WRDSB students, families and staff, and
    • applications from external researchers who wish to advertise or distribute information about research opportunities for WRDSB students, families and staff that take place outside WRDSB schools/departments at times outside of school/work hours.

For general inquiries, or if you wish to submit an application to distribute information about a research opportunity to WRDSB schools/departments you are asked to contact Julie Scott by email at to discuss the details of this option.


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