Measuring the Effectiveness of Research-Practice Partnerships in Education

Strong measures are needed to assess when and how research-practice partnerships are effective and can improve the use of research evidence in policy and practice.

Research-Practice Partnerships (RPPs) are a promising strategy for improving the use of research evidence in school districts, but measures are lacking to examine when and how well RPPs achieve this aim. This study will develop measures and protocols to assess constructs related to effective partnering that were proposed in a framework developed by Erin Henrick, et al. (2017). To refine the constructs in the RPP effectiveness framework, the team will work with 30-40 education RPP stakeholders. Measurement development and validation will involve practitioners and researchers within 48 active and 16 recently inactive education partnerships of different types. In Phase 1 of the three-part study, the team will interview RPP stakeholders to refine key constructs for assessment, identify a range of situations and behaviors that should produce evidence of these constructs, complete synthesis of related literatures, and analyze data on existing measures. In Phase 2, the team will test new and revised survey scales including those measuring levels of trust, consultation of researchers in organizational decision making, absorptive capacity to use research, and flexibility of partners, and assess their psychometric properties. For constructs that are more amenable to interview techniques, the team will develop and field test interview protocols. In Phase 3, the team will work with a sample of district and state policymakers, funders, and RPP leaders to enable them to develop valid interpretations of the data from the assessment tools. The study will deliver assessment tools to identify and test the mechanisms and conditions under which RPPs improve research use to improve student outcomes.