Questions / Using Research

How can researchers better engage their practice partners to improve the use of research evidence?

Researchers’ capacity to collaborate over the life of a project is critical to the use of research evidence. Key factors include:

  • Deep understanding of the organizational context, including its politics, organizational structure, resources, and routines. This ensures that the research produced by the partnership is aligned with the organizational priorities of the policy or practice partner, which in turn improves the esteem and potential use of the resulting research.
  • Sensitivity to the history of an organization. Many agencies have a history of seeing interventions come and go. Research partners who are sensitive to this history and are able to respond to current needs are more poised to succeed than those who are not.
  • Appreciation of different stakeholder groups. This includes being aware of and adaptive to the varied priorities and concerns of different stakeholders. It may also require the targeted use of different types of evidence at different times. For example, evidence about cost-effectiveness may be especially appealing to decision-makers involved in implementation decisions.
  • Policy and political literacy, which enable an understanding of how and when political conditions will affect decision makers’ reception to the research evidence that is produced. See: Training Researchers to Inform Policy: Workshop Participant Supplement.
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Using Research