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Research Guidelines

Guidelines for conducting research in a school administered by Brisbane Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.



Brisbane Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane, is a learning community comprising 137 schools with over 70,000 students.  The geographical area includes much of South East Queensland spanning metropolitan Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, west through Ipswich and the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys and through the South Burnett district and north to Childers.

These guidelines are intended for researchers wishing to conduct research within schools administered by Brisbane Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.  Researchers wishing to undertake research in other dioceses beyond south-east Queensland will need to direct their requests to the Catholic Education Office in the diocese in which the schools are located.

Applications to conduct research in Brisbane Catholic Education schools are coordinated centrally through the Executive Director’s Office.  Applications to conduct research made directly to schools will be re-directed to the Executive Director’s Office.


Identifying Schools


Archdiocese of Brisbane

Details of schools located within the Brisbane Archdiocese are on the Brisbane Catholic Education website under “Find a school (directory)”.

There are two types of Catholic schools

  • Diocesan or systemic schools, which are schools under the authority of the Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education
  • Religious Institute schools, which are independent of Brisbane Catholic Education schools and operate under the authority of religious institutes/orders.

The schools are differentiated by the “school type” descriptor within the schools profile. i.e. BCE (Brisbane Catholic Education) school or Religious Institute school (RI).  Your application should list only BCE schools.  Applications to conduct research in RI schools must be directed to the individual school or school authority. See listing of Religious Institute school on website.


Queensland Catholic Education

There are five Catholic dioceses within Queensland.  A list of Catholic schools in Queensland may be accessed through the Queensland Catholic Education Commission website

Applications to conduct research in Diocesan Catholic schools should be directed to the Executive Director of Catholic Education in the appropriate diocese.

Applications to conduct research in Religious Institute schools (independent Catholic schools administered by religious orders) must be addressed separately and directed specifically to the principals of these schools.


Approval Procedures and conditions

Researchers conducting research within Brisbane Catholic Education schools must ensure that their research does not negatively impact on the learning and teaching environment within schools.  In submitting the research application researchers agree to comply with the procedures and conditions outlined within these guidelines and application form.

Approval to conduct research will be based on the evidence provided in relation to the nature and standard of the research being proposed.  Any approval granted to conduct research is in principle only.  The decision to allow the proposed research to be conducted in any particular school resides with the school principal.

The Brisbane Catholic Education Research Committee meets on a monthly basis and providing the application is supported by relevant documentation, the principal researcher will receive a response to their application within a week following the committee meeting.  If the research is approved a letter of approval to approach the principal/s at the respective school/s nominated will be issued. As stated above the participation in research is at the discretion of the school principal.

It is a condition of approval that the researcher keeps Brisbane Catholic Education informed of progress of the research.  If the research is discontinued, Brisbane Catholic Education must be informed.

On completion

  • provide Brisbane Catholic Education with a copy of the research findings;
  • provide the schools in which the research was conducted with a summary of the research findings;
  • give permission for Brisbane Catholic Education to disseminate reports to its personnel. 

Please refer to Application Form document Form C “Agreement to provide research findings published or unpublished to Brisbane Catholic Education”.

It is also expected that unpublished reports from research pertaining to individual case studies conducted with students in Catholic schools will be given directly to the principal of the school for information purposes. (These do not need to be forwarded to Brisbane Catholic Education Office).



Brisbane Catholic Education employees who wish to conduct research need to be aware that where a publication is made by an employee in the course of employment and as part of the employee’s usual duties, the first owner of copyright will be Brisbane Catholic Education as the employer.  Any enquires in this regard should be forwarded to the Executive Director for consideration.


Commercial Gain

It is not the intention of Brisbane Catholic Education to provide approval for research which is undertaken primarily for commercial or material gain.


Privacy and Confidentiality

Researchers must ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of any personal details or information collected from research participants is maintained at all times. This includes the maintenance of privacy and confidentiality in the publication of research data collected for the duration of the research project.  

The Federal Privacy Act 1988 regulates the way in which private sector organisations collect, use, keep secure and disclose personal information.  Brisbane Catholic Education has adopted and is bound by the 13 Australian Privacy Principles established by the Act.  A privacy statement detailing Brisbane Catholic Education’s practices and procedures for the use and management of personal information collected from parents/guardians, students, contractors and prospective employees (considered Brisbane Catholic Education’s ‘consumers’ under the Act) can be accessed at  Researchers who collect any personal information from Brisbane Catholic Education’s ‘consumers’ while conducting research are required to comply with Brisbane Catholic Education’s privacy statement and the comparable privacy policy of their sponsoring organisation.

Please note that if a research participant discloses to a researcher, during a research project, confidential information in relation to sexual or physical abuse/harm or circumstances where a student’s health, safety or well being is in danger, the researcher is required to disclose this information to the school principal or the Deputy Executive Director on 3033 7655 immediately.


Code of Conduct

All personnel involved in research within Brisbane Catholic Education schools need to familiarise themselves with the “Research Personnel Code of Conduct”  by reading and completing the acceptance agreement Form D prior to approaching schools.


Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000

The community has clear expectations of school personnel in matters relating to child protection.  It rightly expects that children and young people, while at school, will be protected from all forms of abuse/harm. 

Filming and any other process by which a child could be identified will not be approved in any research application unless the following conditions are met:

  • That research participants and caregivers are fully informed regarding the intent, nature and scope of the research and that written consent is specifically given by the caregivers in relation to any filming/photography/videoing etc of participants;
  • That the above condition also applies to research projects that involve longitudinal studies;
  • That the researchers must provide details of the procedures they will use to ensure participant confidentiality – for example, strategies for information storage, access and disposal of data; and
  • That additional written consent from the primary caregiver and research participants will be required, prior to utilising filming or any other participant identifying information, in any forum such as conference, teacher in-service, professional development, teaching instruction etc”.

The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 is an important child protection initiative.  The Act requires people working in ‘child related employment’ to undergo employment screening and obtain a Positive Notice Blue Card. Researchers making application to conduct research in Brisbane Catholic Education schools whose research involves working with children under 18 years of age are required to contact Blue Card Services Public Safety Business Agency to ensure they are aware of and comply with their obligations in relation to the possession of a Positive Notice Blue Card.

Information in relation to researcher’s obligations in accordance with the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 can be obtained by contacting the Blue Card Services Public Safety Business Agency:


NB:  Applications to conduct research that involves direct contact with children under the age of 18 years of age will not be approved unless the researcher is able to provide either a Positive Notice Blue Card or evidence that a Positive Notice Blue Card is not required.

Other important considerations:

Researchers making application to conduct research in Brisbane Catholic Education schools must comply with the provisions of the following Acts:

The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 accessed through

The Privacy Act 1988, accessed through

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, accessed through

Researchers making application to conduct research in Brisbane Catholic Education schools must be aware of and comply with the provisions of the following Archdiocesan policy statements:

  • Student Protection Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy

These policies can be accessed at

For further information regarding the research application process, please contact the Research Coordinator on (07) 3033 7586.

Applications emailed to or posted to Research, Brisbane Catholic Education, GPO Box 1201, Brisbane 4001.

Research Personnel Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct applies to all persons conducting research within Brisbane Catholic Education.

All research personnel must ensure that they comply with their obligations under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 and hold a current Positive Notice Blue Card unless exempt.

Research personnel should ensure that their behaviour does not in any way compromise Brisbane Catholic Education’s provision of a safe and enjoyable environment for young people. Should research personnel become aware during the course of their research of abuse, harm or inappropriate behaviour towards a student they must report the matter to the school principal or another student protection contact at the school.


Research personnel are expected to follow the principles of:

  • safety
  • respect
  • support
  • ethical communication
  • ethical conduct.

Research personnel should:

  • behave honestly and with integrity
  • act with care and diligence
  • behave and dress appropriately.

Research personnel should think and act safety:

  • put safety first in all activities
  • follow the safety procedures outlined by Brisbane Catholic Education and those outlined by the school, to the best of your ability
  • if a direct threat is identified, assist in the evacuation of the area and/or situation as quickly as possible
  • work only according to your level of competency.  Contact and report to School Administration when confronted with a situation which you are unable to contend with or is beyond your role and responsibility.

Research personnel should treat students and staff with respect:

  • respect the rights of individuals and maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality
  • treat everyone with courtesy, sensitivity, tact, consideration and humility
  • act in a manner consistent with an environment free of fear, harassment, racism and exploitation
  • respect the cultures, beliefs, opinions and decisions of others although you may not always agree
  • take instruction from and not obstruct the responsible staff members in any way in regards to the execution of their duties
  • report any illegal activity to the School’s Administration or appropriate staff member.

Research personnel should use appropriate communication skills when engaging with students:

  • acknowledge the needs and concerns of the individual
  • practice effective listening
  • be aware of the young person’s physical space
  • be aware of your own body language
  • be judicious in making physical contact with young people and at all times seek the young persons permission to do so
  • stay calm and relaxed
  • be clear and consistent
  • use non-discriminatory respectful and non-judgmental language
  • seek advice whenever appropriate
  • research personnel, must follow all instructions from the staff and School Administration.  You should not engage directly with media representatives, and should refer all enquiries to School Administration.

Research personnel must not:

  • smoke or use tobacco products while conducting research within and/or on school property
  • use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol at any time while conducting research within and/or on school property
  • use, possess, or be under the influence of illegal drugs at any time while conducting research within and/or on school property
  • condone the use of or provided any of the above substances to any students, employees or volunteers
  • verbally harass or abuse any person or use profanity while conducting research within and/or on school property
  • utilise your position as research personnel to take advantage of any young person.


Any breaches of this Code of Conduct will be dealt with by the school principal in the first instance and appropriate authorities will be contacted if necessary.

Should you have any questions with regard to any of the above you should contact The Manager of Professional Standards and Student Protection at Brisbane Catholic Education in the first instance on (07) 3033 7050.



Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101