Encouraging the use of research in ways that benefit youth is a central aim of research-practice partnerships. When research is used to improve services, policies, or interventions, the partnership is more likely to reach its ultimate goal of improving outcomes.

But using research is rarely a simple process whereby knowledge and findings from research—even when produced by the partnership—get used in decision making and practice. Research use requires intention and involves establishing the supports needed to routinely consult and use the findings. From the outset of the joint agenda, it means making explicit what might change about how the work is done, what routines, training, technology, and resources need to shift to bring about those changes, and why this might be better for youth. It means articulating ways the partnership will use the research to improve.

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