Requests for Research
Data Policy

Requests for research data

We consider all requests for access to unpublished data and materials very carefully.

Though we try to respond positively, please note that it is sometimes not possible to provide what is requested. Granting access to materials such as live test materials, rating scale instruments, candidates’ test scores or examination scripts raises issues of security and confidentiality; for ethical reasons, we can only release test scores and performance data in very special and controlled circumstances, and subject to data protection legislation and recognised standards for good research practice.

Making a request
To request confidential data, please send us a formal written request which outlines:

  • the theoretical background for your study
  • the research questions you want to investigate
  • exactly what data/material you need from us
  • your proposed methodology and analytical approach(es)
  • the anticipated outcomes in terms of publications, presentations, etc.
  • if you have received ethics approval for your research.

If you are a PhD or Master’s student, we also ask for a letter from your academic supervisor in support of your request. You should send your written request, along with your supervisor’s letter, in the first instance to us by completing this form.

What happens next?
If we approve your request, we will draw up a formal agreement for you to sign. The agreement specifies the terms and conditions under which we will grant you access to and use of any data/materials we provide; it also affirms the right of Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment to see and comment on all papers/reports before publication/presentation in the public domain. We expect researchers to remain in regular contact with us throughout their research and to return any data/materials on completion of their project in line with the signed agreement. We also expect to be kept informed of presentations and publications arising from the research.

Why might my request not be approved?
There are various reasons why we may not be able to approve a request for data/materials:

  • we may not have the data you want from us in the form in which you need it (e.g. certain candidate background information)
  • we may not be able to provide what is requested according to your time frame or other requirements
  • we may feel that the proposed study is not sufficiently well designed to investigate the research questions, especially if they are complex or sensitive
  • the information requested is business confidential or is subject to data protection.

PhD and Master’s students often ask us to supply them with specific performance and/or score data; sometimes we are able to do this, but on many occasions it is not possible for the reasons explained above. However, as ‘researchers in training’, there is great value in you planning and managing your own data collection activity; it means you can construct a balanced sample with known characteristics, and you can also gather valuable additional background information on the subjects in your study, via questionnaires, focus groups or verbal protocol analysis.

Even if we are not able to provide you with test score and performance data for analysis, you may find the OET sample materials available on the OET website for you to gather your own score/performance data.

What sort of research does Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment support?
We find it easiest to support research studies that are well designed and that overlap with our own research interests and validation priorities.