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Research

Research and Data Analytics (RDA) conducts and supports Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB) approved research that will advance the agency’s mission and strategic goals (DOC 260.050 Research Review and Use (pdf)).

Request Prioritization

The department’s first priority is safeguarding the rights and welfare of persons under its legal jurisdiction and its employees who could potentially serve as subjects in research sponsored or approved by the department. Individuals under the jurisdiction of the department hold special status and are, due to their confinement, classified as vulnerable subjects (45 CFR 46, 28 CFR 512.11).

Requests for administrative data and human subject research alike require review and approval from the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB) (RCW 42.48.020). Consult the Washington State Agency Policy on Protection of Human Research Subjects (pdf) for further information. You must coordinate with Research and Data Analytics prior to WSIRB submission. WSIRB approval does not guarantee the department's approval or ability to meet the proposed timeline. Please note: the department does not accept institutional review board approvals from other entities besides WSIRB.

In addition to federal and state regulations, requests are evaluated in light of public need and available resources, with priority given to:

Under limited exception, the department does not accept requests for student research. Requestors are required to have correctional research and subject-matter expertise in the proposed topic.

Request Process & Timelines

Requests for state agency resources and assistance require a review process that may, depending on scope and availability of resources, take several months. Please consider the following before submitting a request:

  1. Requestors must review the Research Process Flow Chart(pdf) (200-IG001) and submit DOC 05-047 Project Request Application for consideration. Requests must include, at minimum, a well-defined scope, concise research questions with specific variables of interest, rigorous methodology, realistic timeline, and proposed deliverables.
  2. The Research and Data Analytics (RDA), Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB) and Research Review Committee (RRC) review process may take two to six (2-6) months based on proposal quality and volume of requests.
  3. Following WSIRB and RRC approval, allow a minimum of two (2) months to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and/or Data Share Agreement (DSA) for the project.
  4. Following approval of a DSA, requests for administrative data may require an additional one to six (1-6) months to build the approved dataset based on available resources and the complexity of the request.

Requestors are responsible for paying the WSIRB and RDA fees, and will be notified of charges prior to data extraction.

Survey Requests

The department receives many survey requests and reserves the right to request modification or deny any request. Surveys administered for research purposes will need to go through the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB) and department review process. Requests will be evaluated based on survey quality, potential burden to the agency and respondents, and alignment with the agency's mission and strategic goals.

Grant Partnerships

The department encourages grant seeking or other external funding (i.e., non-state funds not appropriated by the Legislature or received as a cost reimbursement) that is aligned with the department's mission and strategic goals. Grant seekers are advised to:

  • Coordinate with the department a minimum of 60-90 days in advance of the proposal deadline.
  • If the grant includes a research or program evaluation component, coordinate with RDA to determine whether this request can/will be supported.
  • Include costs for Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB) approval and required department resources (including a suggested minimum of six (6) months lead time).