Request Data for Research

Georgetown University collects and maintains a significant amount of data and information as part of its normal business operations. These data provide the foundation for ongoing institutional research, reporting, and assessment to support decision making. The Office of Assessment and Decision Support (OADS) also recognizes the value of campus administrative data in academic research. The University has adopted a policy that will facilitate secure access to administrative data maintained by Georgetown for use in academic research projects that will contribute to generalizable knowledge. 

An Administrative Data Review Panel (ADRP) reviews and approves all requests for access to administrative data for research by faculty, students, and other researchers. All requests for existing Georgetown data for research (unit-record or aggregate data) must submit a formal application and undergo a review process.  This policy applies to both Georgetown-affiliated researchers and non-Georgetown, external researchers.

Priority access will be given to research projects that 1) clearly demonstrate how the outcome of the research can improve the quality of, or access to, Georgetown’s educational offerings, and/or 2) address issues in higher education more broadly (access, equity, finance, etc.). Projects not relating directly to higher education will also be considered if the research output has the potential to positively impact the Georgetown community.

The ADRP will evaluate all requests based on the extent to which:

  • The request is approved and supported by the relevant University data steward(s) (i.e., the University representative(s) charged with protection and management of the data assets included in the request)
  • Data are available and accessible
  • Proposed data management and security plans/protocols are clearly articulated and meet University privacy and security requirements
  • Projects present no actual or perceived conflicts of interest
  • OADS resources are available to support the request
  • The project meets IRB requirements

A review is conducted by the ADPR on a rolling basis and is initiated only after a complete set of application materials are received. The entire process typically takes at least two months, so researchers are encouraged to submit requests as early as possible. OADS coordinates this process and communicates the decision of the ADPR to the requesting PI(s). OADS ensures that all appropriate data use agreements and data security plans are in place before data are provided. Once data requests are approved, data access or extracts are scheduled within existing production schedules and are completed as soon as resources are available. The ADPR will not authorize the release of University data until a signed Data Use Agreement (DUA) and all supporting documentation have been received. 

The instructions for submitting an application can be emailing us at (new window). It is recommended that PIs begin discussing potential projects with a member of OADS as soon as possible. In most cases, the initial approval from the appropriate data steward will need to be secured before an application for data is submitted.

Additional Considerations

  • This process is distinct from the Georgetown Institutional Review Board (IRB) (new window), whose primary role is to safeguard the rights and welfare of all human subjects who participate in research studies conducted by Georgetown faculty, staff, and students. Research using Georgetown administrative data must be reviewed and approved/exempted by the IRB. Official IRB approval or exemption is required before any data are released.
  • Students may not request data directly through this process; a sponsoring faculty PI must be the primary requestor on behalf of a student.
  • All data sets involving human subjects will be de-identified and will conform to IRB-approved data security guidelines; if possible, synthetic data sets will be provided that will mirror the real administrative data. This approach provides an additional layer of privacy and protection.
  • Where possible, data will be provided by granting individual research team members with direct access to security data analysis environments. Only in exceptional cases will data files be transferred directly to a PI outside of secure environments or systems.