Research-practice Partnerships White Paper 2.0

How has the field of research-practice partnerships (RPPs) evolved, and what lessons can be learned about when and how RPPs promote the use of research evidence?

In 2013, the Foundation published a white paper by Cynthia Coburn, William Penuel, and Kimberly Geil that offered a typology of RPPs between researchers and school districts and described the challenges that these RPPs face. As the field has evolved, RPPs have engaged in activities that differ from and cut across the original typology of partnerships; RPPs have broadened to include state education agencies and community groups; and new forms of partnerships have emerged (e.g. inter-organizational networks). New funders have also entered this space, and more research has been conducted on RPPs. Given these changes, Caitlin Farrell, William Penuel, and Cynthia Coburn propose to update the 2013 white paper to reflect RPPs today. The team will interview about 40 partnership participants, funders, and experts. They will also conduct a systematic review of literature from the past five years to understand the ways in which RPPs support the use of research evidence, ways RPPs use research to inform decision making, and conditions that characterize productive partnerships. Drawing from these analyses, the white paper will offer an overview of the changes in the field; offer an updated definition and typology of RPPs; synthesize recent research on the conditions for the success of RPPs; and identify the conditions and mechanisms through which RPPs contribute to the production and use of research evidence in education policy and practice. Building on the updated literature review and the team’s considerable expertise, they will then outline next steps for this field.

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