Ultimately, partnerships want to know whether their efforts are making a difference for youth, and if they could operate more effectively. A recent paper by Erin Henrick and colleagues, Assessing Research-Practice Partnerships: Five Dimensions of Effectiveness, describes qualities that cut across different types of partnerships, which partners on both sides of partnerships say are essential to their work. The paper offers a compelling framework for evaluating RPPs in ways that can inform improvement efforts.
Partners frequently want to know about five key dimensions about their work together. These include:
- the quality of the relationships within the partnership;
- whether the research produced is relevant, timely, and rigorous;
- the availability of supports that aid the use of the research produced;
- whether the capacity of the participating researchers, practitioners, and organizations is advancing; and,
- the value of the research produced for other improvement efforts.
Thoughtful evaluations that probe deep into the challenging work of RPPs and honest conversations about what is learned will ultimately aid the functioning and impact of RPPs.