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Research Tools

July 2017


What does the research say about frameworks for developing, maintaining, and/or studying research-practice partnerships or collaborative partnerships?


Following an established Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest protocol, we conducted a search for research reports or briefs on frameworks/examples for developing, maintaining, and/or studying research-practice partnerships or collaboration partnerships. In particular, we focused on identifying resources that focused on partnerships between researchers and practitioners to conduct research. For details on the databases and sources, keywords and selection criteria used to create this response, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.

Below, we share a sampling of the publicly accessible resources on this topic. The search conducted is not comprehensive; other relevant references and resources may exist. We have not evaluated the quality of references and resources provided in this response, but offer this list to you for your information only.

Research References

Barron, K. E., Hulleman, C. S., Inouye, R. B., & Hartka, T. A. (2015). Using a networked improvement community approach to design and scale up social psychological interventions in schools. Paper presented at the National Center on Scaling up Effective Schools (NCSU), Nashville, TN. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “In our session, we showcase work from a researcher-practitioner partnership between James Madison University, the University of Virginia, and Harrisonburg City Public Schools that is focused on developing a continuous improvement process to translate social-psychological interventions into teaching practices that enhance motivation and learning. Specifically, we highlight one of our first collaborative projects to develop and scale up an intervention to teach students about adopting a growth mindset (Dweck, 2006) to address our practitioners’ concern that many of their students lacked the belief that they could learn. In addition, we discuss how our local work to scale up psychological interventions is being conducted as part of a national Networked Improvement Community sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, called the Student Agency Improvement Community.”

Biag, M., Gerstein, A., Fehrer, K., Sanchez, M., & Sipes, L. (2016). Data use and inquiry in research-practice partnerships: Four case examples. Stanford, CA: John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “The four case examples presented in this brief are drawn from the Gardner Center’s substantial experience conducting rigorous research in research-practice partnerships. The first case describes a partnership approach that enhances a school district’s capacity to use integrated longitudinal data to tackle persistent problems of practice and monitor students’ development. The second case exemplifies how an equitable research model, grounded in mutualism and sensitive to cultural nuances, can be leveraged to elevate the experience marginalized communities. The third case furthers knowledge about the implementation process and partnership dynamics within a Promise Neighborhood initiative, specifically as stakeholders negotiate accountability demands with the need for more actionable information. The final case highlights strategies that foster partnership within a national professional learning network that is working to build out-of-school time systems using data to improve programming for underserved youth.”

Bryant, C., Connolly, F., Doss, C., Grigg, J., Gorgen, P., & Wentworth, L. (2016). Addressing quandaries in early education through research practice partnerships. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “This panel examines research on early education from two research practice partnerships, the Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC) with Baltimore City Schools and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Stanford-SFUSD Partnership with San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and Stanford University in San Francisco, California. First, it explores how BERC convened the Early Education Data Collaborative (EEDC), a collection of Baltimore agencies that provide services to children from birth through the early elementary years whose goal is to understand how different pathways to kindergarten may be associated with kindergarten readiness and later learning outcomes. Second, it explores a line of research by a Stanford University professor and her team of doctoral students working with SFUSD’s early education department. The Stanford team worked with SFUSD to establish and test a new Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) early literacy assessment aligned to K-12 measures, and also established a kindergarten readiness indicator that has been used by SFUSD over the past three years.”

Cannata, M., Cohen-Vogel, L., & Sorum, M. (2015). Partnering for improvement: Communities of practice and their role in scale up. Paper presented at the National Center on Scaling up Effective Schools (NCSU), Nashville, TN. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “The past several decades have seen a substantial amount of time, resources, and expertise focused on producing sustainable improvement in schools at scale. Research on these efforts have highlighted how complex this challenge is, as it needs to attend to building teacher support and participation, aligning with the organizational context, and building capacity among stakeholders across organizational levels. In this paper, the authors describe their research across four phases. Their model of improvement relies on three core principles. First, a prototype is built to reflect the core elements of programs or practices that have been shown to be effective locally. Second, rapid-cycle testing is used to allow the prototype to be revised in ways that adapt it to a school or grade-level context. Third, the work occurs within a research-practice partnership (RPP) that strives to take advantage of local expertise, build local ownership to scale, and sustain effective practice (Cohen-Vogel et al., in press). By outlining the organizational structures established to enact the partnership and roles of the various partners, the authors provide an in-depth look at how one RPP operates. The authors begin by describing the concept of an improvement community as one type of RPP, identify several types of improvement communities currently operating in educational systems, and define the key features of improvement communities. Then, the authors outline the specific improvement communities that are central to the Center’s work, highlighting how these structures help us enact their RPP. The authors end with their reflections about how the partnership created new roles for both researchers and practitioners as well as the challenges and opportunities that accompanied those new roles.”

Caverly, D. C., Taylor, J. S., Dimino, R. K., & Lampi, J. P. (2016). Connecting practice and research: Integrated reading and writing instruction assessment. Journal of Developmental Education, 39(3), 30-31. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “The first ‘Connecting Practice and Research’ column (Lampi, Dimino, & Salsburg Taylor, 2015), introduced a Research-to-Practice partnership (Coburn & Penuel, 2016) between two faculty from a community college and a university professor who were aiming to develop effective integrated reading and writing (IRW) instruction through a sustainable, professional development model. A second column examined the refinement process these instructors experienced while designing and implementing the IRW course (Salsburg Taylor, Dimino, Lampi, & Caverly, 2016). In this third column, we will review how this partnership became a rich source of data for researching and evaluating both IRW as well as the accompanying professional development via Torraco’s (2014) call for research on practitioner-scholar collaborations: ‘Practice is not only a setting for the application of knowledge, it is a source of knowledge generation’ (p. 1201).”

Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W. R., & Farrell, C. C. (2015). Research-practice partnerships in education: “Outcomes, dynamics, and open questions.” Paper presented at the National Center on Scaling up Effective Schools (NCSU), Nashville, TN. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Policy makers, funders, and researchers today view ‘research-practice partnerships’ (RPPs) as a promising approach for expanding the role of research in improving educational practice. Although studies in other fields provide evidence of the potential for RPPs, studies in education are few. This article provides a review of available evidence of the outcomes and dynamics of RPPs in education and related fields. It then outlines a research agenda for the study of RPPs that can guide funders’ investments and help developing partnerships succeed.”

Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W. R., & Geil, K. E. (2013). Research-practice partnerships: A strategy for leveraging research for educational improvement in school districts. New York, NY: William T. Grant Foundation. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Pressures are increasing on educational policy and practice to use research to guide improvement. Recently there have been concerted efforts to forge new and different kinds of relationships between researchers and practitioners. School districts across the country are developing a new kind of partnership with researchers. These research-practice partnerships are long-term collaborations, which are organized to investigate problems of practice and generate solutions for improving district outcomes. This white paper will: (1) Define research-practice partnerships; (2) Identify the major types of partnerships that operate at the district level; and (3) Describe challenges partnerships face and strategies for addressing these challenges. To do so, the authors draw on a review of existing research and interviews with participants in research-practice partnerships across the country. Throughout, they illustrate the work of research-practice partnerships with portraits of partnerships in action”

Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W. R., & Geil, K. E. (2015). Case study I: The John W. Gardner Center and Redwood City 2020. New York, NY: William T. Grant Foundation. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “In the current education landscape, pressures are ever increasing on educational policy and practice to use research to guide improvement. In recent years, federal programs, such as No Child Left Behind, Reading First, and Race to the Top, have all provided strong incentives for the use of research in decision-making. Research-practice partnerships are a promising strategy for improving schools and districts. It often difficult, however, for researchers and district administrators involved in partnerships to learn from one another. It can also be challenging for those interested in developing new partnerships to learn about different ways they might organize their work or anticipate and address the issues they may face. What is needed is a more robust dialogue in which district leaders, researchers, policymakers, and funders speak candidly about the strategic trade-offs partnerships face and the resources that are required for success. The white paper ‘Research-Practice Partnerships: A Strategy for Leveraging Research for Educational Improvement in School Districts’ (Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W. R., & Geil, K. E. January 2013) is an important part of moving that conversation forward by: (1) Defining research-practice partnerships; (2) Identifying the major types of partnerships that operate at the district level; and (3) Describing challenges partnerships face, and strategies for addressing these challenges. To do so, the authors draw on a review of existing research, and illustrate the work of research-practice partnerships in action. The monograph provided here, ‘Case Study I: The John W. Gardner Center and Redwood City 2020’ is a supplement to the white paper, and provides a detailed description of the partnership between the John W. Gardner Center and Redwood City 2020. It includes the history, nature of the partnership, the challenges the partnership has encountered, and the benefits of the partnership. The hope is that the white paper and the supplements can guide those seeking to develop or maintain research-practice partnerships as well as funders of such partnerships.”

Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W. R., & Geil, K. E. (2015). Case study II: Research Alliance for New York City Schools. New York, NY: William T. Grant Foundation. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “… the authors draw on a review of existing research, and illustrate the work of research-practice partnerships in action. ‘Case Study II Research Alliance for New York City Schools’ is a supplement to the white paper, and details the history, mission, nature of the partnership, challenges encountered in developing strong partnerships, and the benefits realized from the alliance between the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, and the New York City Department of Education. ”

Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W. R., & Geil, K. E. (2015). Case study III: The University of Washington and Bellevue School District Partnership. New York, NY: William T. Grant Foundation. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “This design-research partnership involves learning scientists, design researchers, and graduate students from the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center and the College of Education at the University of Washington (UW), and district staff, teachers, and students from the Bellevue School District (BSD). The goal of their work is to improve curriculum, increase student achievement, and test design and learning science principles. The partnership has several projects underway. This case study will discuss ‘Agency in Sustained Problem-Based Inquiry: Learning Science Through and As Innovation.’ Additional work includes a Knowledge in Action project revising high school AP environmental and government curriculum using project-based learning, and an Investing in Innovation (I3) grant to redesign a high school with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focus. The report is organized into the following brief sections: (1) History; (2) Nature of the Partnership; (3) Challenges; and (4) Benefits.”

Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W. R., & Geil, K. E. (2015). Case study IV: Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching’s Networked Improvement Communities (NICs). New York, NY: William T. Grant Foundation. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is a nonprofit, operating foundation with a long tradition of developing and studying ways to improve teaching practice. For the past three years, the Carnegie Foundation has initiated three different Networked Improvement Communities (NICs). The first, Quantway, is addressing the high failure rate of students in developmental mathematics. Eight community colleges in three states are part of this network, as are several intermediary organizations whose work focuses on curriculum, faculty development, and student support. The second NIC, Statway, is also focused on community colleges. It involves 19 colleges in five states and is a pathway to college statistics. The third NIC, Building a Teacher Effectiveness Network (BTEN), is working on teacher quality, specifically on developing and retaining teachers in the first three years of teaching. The BTEN network members include the Carnegie Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), New Visions for Public Schools (NVPS), the Austin Independent School District (AISD), and the Baltimore City Schools (BCS). Carnegie staff act as the primary facilitators of the work, guiding the improvement process. IHI and AFT also help facilitate the improvement work. AISD, BCS, and NVPS are sites that test ideas. This case study discusses the partnership and is organized into the following sections: (1) History; (2) Nature of the Partnership; (3) Challenges; and (4) Benefits.”

Fonger, N. L. (2015, April). How partnerships are core to a linking research and practice agenda. Paper presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Research Conference, Boston, MA. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Partnerships between researchers and teachers are central to stimulating advancements in a linking research and practice agenda. This paper addresses two key aims. First, research on supporting students’ representational fluency in technology-rich algebra learning environments is used to illustrate a linking research and practice agenda. Three themes are addressed as outcomes of this researcher-practitioner partnership: (a) the importance of addressing a shared problem of practice, (b) the role of theoretical lenses in supporting both practice and research, and (c) how to design for collaboration using both practice-based and research-based methods. Second, emerging issues in establishing productive researcher-practitioner partnerships are introduced from the perspective of both researchers and practitioners. Viable next steps for bridging the experiences of researchers and practitioners are discussed.”

Hill, K., Reitano, A., & Kowalski, D. (2016). Shared Solutions: A model for researcher-practitioner partnerships. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “The University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE), and the School District of Philadelphia (SDP), have a researcher-practitioner partnership called ‘Shared Solutions.’ They consider Shared Solutions to be a hybrid of the ‘place-based research alliances’ and ‘design research teams’ described by Coburn et al. (2013). Like a research alliance, they have a formal research data agreement, a shared agenda, and a detailed plan for co-dissemination of findings. They also operate somewhat like a design research team, in that their research agenda includes analyzing data incrementally to identify paths of improvement and then crafting interventions that respond to these findings. In their efforts to build a long-term partnership ‘focused on investigating questions of policy and practice that are central to the district’ (Coburn et al., 2013, p. 4), they have built in activities that create routines to sustain and build the partnership (Penuel, Fishman, Cheng, & Sabelli, 2011). Grounded in lessons from the field (e.g., Bryk, Seabring, Allensworth, Easton, & Luppescu, 2010; Coburn & Stein, 2010), their approach to developing a meaningful, effective, and sustained partnership includes the following key components: (1) establishing working groups; (2) holding regularly scheduled meetings; and (3) establishing a culture of joint decision making. Shared Solutions’ research agenda focuses on studying the district’s ‘improving’ schools—reform models whose goal is to student academic achievement by providing a productive and safe learning environment, strong leadership, and high-quality curricula and teaching. To study the SDP’s school improvement models, Shared Solutions adopted a conceptual framework, based on the work of Anthony Bryk and colleagues (2010), which identifies five essential supports for successful schools—leadership, parent-community ties, professional capacity, school climate, and instruction. Their framework combines Bryk et al’s (2010) work with research on school turnaround and reform (e.g., Desimone, 2002; Herman et al., 2008; Herman & Huberman, 2012). Instrument development, and all researcher-practitioner discussions fostered by the partnership were grounded in this jointly adopted framework, which served as a powerful strategy for developing shared interpretations (e.g., Hubbard, 2010).”

Kochanek, J. R., Scholz, C., & Garcia, A. N. (December 2015). Mapping the collaborative research process. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23(121). Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Despite significant federal investments in the production of high-quality education research, the direct use of that research in policy and practice is not evident. Some education researchers are increasingly employing collaborative research models that use structures and processes to integrate practitioners into the research process in an effort to produce more relevant and useful work. This article presents and describes the logic model developed by researchers at American Institutes for Research (AIR) to guide their work on the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest. Under this program, AIR researchers have developed eight research alliances. The alliance members, who represent districts, state education agencies, and other organizations with a vested interest in education, partner with researchers to develop three- to five-year research agendas. These agendas drive the research and technical assistance projects that the alliance members and AIR researchers do together. It contributes to the emergent literature on research-practice partnerships, providing a theory-based approach to the work that others might model, build upon, or revisit.”

Mokher, C., & Jacobson, L. (2016). Researcher-practitioner collaboration supporting the Florida College and Career Readiness Initiative. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “There is a nationwide concern that too many students leave high school unprepared for college-level coursework and that students lack awareness of their level of preparation. Florida enacted Senate Bill 1908 creating a statewide program, the Florida College and Career Readiness Initiative (FCCRI), to reduce the need for postsecondary remediation. The FCCRI consists of testing 11th-graders statewide to determine their college readiness and requiring those not college ready to take one or more of five college readiness and success (CRS) courses in grade 12. This presentation describes practitioner feedback on program implementation over three years (school years 2012-13 to 2015-16), as well as how collaboration between researchers and practitioners improves the initiative's effectiveness. The authors describe findings from a qualitative evaluation that includes small group discussions with CRS teachers (year 1), two statewide surveys of CRS teachers (years 1 and 2), site visits in six counties (year 2), and professional development forums for educators in three cities (year 3). The findings provide lessons learned about researcher-practitioner partnerships that can inform practice, and also provide additional information that can help states and districts in determining how to structure supports for similar programs.”

Ralston, N. C., Tarasawa, B., Waggoner, J. M., Smith, R., & Naegele, Z. (2016). Developing practitioner-scholars through university-school district research partnerships. Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education, 6, 94-107. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “University-community partnerships have gained popularity in the United States as a means of extending university research resources and collaborative opportunities. However, research-driven partnerships between universities and K-12 school districts that prioritize the research needs of K-12 schools are unique. Recently, education scholars have been exploring partnership models with potentially greater benefits for various school district stakeholders. To date, there is limited research on how these partnerships can be leveraged as a pedagogical approach to effectively support the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) students who are emerging as practitioner-scholars. This qualitative study helps fill that gap by examining the impacts of one newly formed research-practice partnership that utilized a service-learning model. Our findings suggest that conducting authentic K-12 district-driven research projects may be one avenue for providing transformative learning experiences to practitioner-scholars while also meeting the needs of the school district partners in the community through the production of public scholarship.”

Ralston, N., Weitzel, B., Waggoner, J., Naegele, Z., & Smith, R. (2016). The partnership pact: Fulfilling school districts’ research needs with university-district partnerships. AILACTE Journal, 13(1), 59-75. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “There has been a recent shift in university-district partnership models from traditional transactional partnerships, which lack a shared purpose, to transformational partnerships that are mutually beneficial to both universities and school districts. These transformational research-practice partnerships have gained popularity in the United States as a means of extending university research resources. To date, limited research has investigated the impact of district-driven research on the community. This qualitative study helps fill that gap by examining the impacts of one newly formed research-practice partnership on district stakeholders. Our findings suggest that authentic district-driven research projects have the potential to provide rigorous and timely research deliverables for school district partners in the community through the production of public scholarship. The themes that emerged suggest that these projects can both meet the district needs in an era of dwindling budgets and can result in a change of practice.”

Rogers, T., Wolford, T., Reitano, A., Feller, A., Subramanyam, S., & Ternovski, J. (2016). Successful researcher-practitioner RCT partnership: Increasing attendance by 15,000 days. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “While the adjusted cohort graduation rate of students in the United States has reached 80 percent during the 2011-12 school year (Stetser & Stillwell, 2014), in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) only 57% of its students graduate from high school in four years, which is typical of large urban school districts (Swanson, 2009). Moreover, less than 20% of SDP students graduate high school, enroll in college, and persist to the second year (The School District of Philadelphia Action Plan, 2013). School attendance correlates with academic achievement and is also among the strongest predictors of high school graduation (Balfanz & Byrnes, 2012; Byrnes & Reyna, 2012). Educators care greatly about the amount of time students spend in the classroom because absenteeism results in substantial loss of classroom learning time. Teachers and administrators estimate that some students may lose not just days, but weeks of learning time, due to tardiness and absences. One of SDP’s priorities is to improve student attendance as part of its Action Plan. The district created a task force dedicated to re-think the existing report card structure that is sent to guardians. Currently, student performance data (e.g., course grades and attendance) is presented to guardians in report cards in a way that is often convoluted and confusing. The task force intends to develop new formatting and, potentially, new content for the report cards. By making absenteeism information more meaningful, relevant, and contextualized, guardians might be enabled to take on a more active role in improving their student's attendance and academic performance. The Student Social Support R&D Lab at Harvard (S3) and the Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) at the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) collaborated on the ‘SDP Attendance Project,’ a research project in the form of a randomized control trial (RCT) to study strategies to improve student attendance in SDP. The project developed a low-cost, easy-to-implement innovation that could be widely used to reduce student absences.”

Scholz, C., Ehrlich, S. B., & Roth, E. (2017). Reflections from a professional learning community for researchers working in research alliances (REL 2017-262). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “There is a well-known disconnect between research and practice in education. Education practitioners and policymakers continue to make little direct use of research findings to drive state, district, school, and classroom decision-making. Conducting collaborative research is challenging—especially for researchers who have never partnered with practitioners to conduct research. Researchers who have not conducted collaborative research may benefit from forming a professional learning community to connect with other researchers who are engaged in a research-practice partnership. The 2012-17 Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) program required the development of research alliances that are intended to connect practitioners, researchers, and policymakers around regional education challenges. These research alliances were tasked with addressing the challenges through regional research, technical assistance, and engagement projects. This report describes the lessons learned about the common challenges that REL Midwest researchers brought to the professional learning community, the strategies they identified to address the challenges, and the tools they used to overcome the challenges. The intent is to inform others working with research alliances (such as Regional Educational Laboratory staff, academics, and graduate students) as they work to build researchers’ capacity to engage in authentic collaboration with their practitioner partners. This reflective piece summarizes one professional learning community’s lessons learned and describes how its members worked to align available resources to the specific needs of the researchers and developed tools to help one another overcome various challenges.”

Sporte, S. E., Jiang, J. Y., & Luppescu, S. (2015). Teacher evaluation in practice: Exploring relationships between school characteristics & evaluation scores. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Decades of research evidence have consistently suggested teachers are the most important in-school factor related to student learning and achievement. Being taught by an effective teacher has important consequences for students' academic outcomes as well as longer-term impacts on postsecondary success and lifetime earnings. Yet how to measure effective teaching, how to develop effective teachers, and how to ensure that all students have access to highly effective teaching continue to be some of the most persistent challenges facing local, state, and federal education policymakers. New teacher evaluation systems are providing a proliferation of new data on teachers that is intended to be used for both accountability and to support teachers in adjusting and improving their instructional practice. In Chicago, over the course of only a few years, district leaders and teachers have moved from an annual checklist conveying essentially no data on teacher performance to multiple classroom observations and measures of student growth that generate detailed reports with multiple pages of ratings. This paper shares findings from the following research questions about Chicago's new teacher evaluation system: (1) What is the distribution of observation and value-added ratings across schools?; (2) To what extent are evaluation scores related to school characteristics such as school poverty level, racial composition, measures of culture, and climate? Are these relationships different for value-added and observation scores?; and (3) Are evaluation scores related to teacher characteristics such as experience or certification? In addition to these questions, the authors share insights into their research-practice partnerships with both the district and the Chicago Teachers Union.”

Additional Organizations to Consult

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching –

From the website: “Carnegie believes that the most effective and efficient way to organize improvement efforts is through networked improvement communities (NICs), a colleagueship of expertise building on the hard work and creativity of many. These are intentionally designed social organizations, each with a distinct problem-solving focus.

As formal organizations, NICs have roles, responsibilities, and norms for membership. They maintain narratives that exemplify what they are about and why it is important to affiliate with them. A NIC is:

  • focused on a well-specified common aim;
  • guided by a deep understanding of the problem, the system that produces it, and a shared working theory to improve it;
  • disciplined by the methods of improvement research to develop, test, and refine interventions; and
  • organized to accelerate interventions into the field and to effectively integrate them into varied educational contexts.

Taken together, these features frame the NIC as a scientific learning community.”

Research-Practice Partnership Program at Spencer Foundation –

From the website: “This program accepts proposals with budgets up to $400,000 seeking to strengthen existing research-practice partnerships (RPPs). RPPs are a novel model for conducting relevant and useful research and facilitating the long-term accumulation of knowledge about education policy and practice. They enable researchers and practitioners to jointly study problems in specific settings over time. This grant program is intended to provide intermediate-term stability to existing RPPs by supporting a range of activities vital to their operation.”

Research-Practice Partnerships at William T. Grant Foundation –

From the website: “Research-practice partnerships strengthen educational systems. When researchers and district leaders develop long-term collaborations, they leverage research to address persistent problems of practice and policy.”


Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Research practice partnerships

  • Researcher-practitioner partnerships

Databases and Search Engines

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of more than 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Additionally, we searched Google Scholar.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published over the last 15 years, from 2002 to present, were include in the search and review.

  • Search priorities of reference sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations.

  • Methodology: We used the following methodological priorities/considerations in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types—randomized control trials, quasi-experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, and so forth, generally in this order, (b) target population, samples (e.g., representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected), study duration, and so forth, and (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, and so forth.
This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Region) at American Institutes for Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Midwest under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0007, administered by American Institutes for Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.