What training is needed for participants in a research-practice partnership?

Professionals wishing to engage in this work should seek to develop as many insights as they can into what RPPs entail. Partners in an RPP also should be trained and competent in their respective areas of expertise in order to establish mutuality and trust, and partners should recognize when they may need to seek out additional training for the benefit of the partnership. For example, researchers may need to develop competency in new methodologies to address the practitioners’ research questions, or decision makers may need to learn more about the barriers and facilitators that can impact research use in district policymaking.

In addition to the specialized training needed for the individual roles of partners in an RPP, partners also may seek out additional training to enhance the dispositions, knowledge, and skills that could benefit members irrespective of their roles. This could mean coaching on role negotiation within partnerships, attending a seminar on strategic planning or project management, or attending a workshop on refining presentation or writing skills for nonacademic audiences.

Hands-on experience is also an important part of training for professional roles that can benefit participants in an RPP. The National Center for Research in Policy and Practice, which studies how educational leaders use research, held a conference in July 2019 to bring together education deans, faculty members, and doctoral students to discuss graduate training for RPPs and other collaborative research. The value of hands-on experience was an important theme throughout the convening; graduate students, in particular, shared how instructive and beneficial it was to participate in collaborative research teams led by professors and experienced researchers and to gain insights into various aspects of such work in relatively low-risk contexts.

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Staffing and Training