Research Use in Organized Out-of-School Contexts

How do staff at youth programs acquire and use research to inform their program designs and practices?

Participation in organized activities—including sports, faith-based groups, and school- and community-based after-school programs—is a common experience for millions of children and adolescents in the United States. Researchers have reported links between youth involvement in high-quality programs and positive developmental outcomes. Currently, little is known about how practitioners working in these programs acquire and use research or other information to inform their work. The study will: (1) identify the types and sources of information practitioners use to develop their programs and evaluate the prominence of research evidence among these sources, (2) identify facilitators of and barriers to practitioners’ use of research, and (3) investigate differences in these issues across different types of programs as well as programs rated high and low quality.