Researcher-practitioner partnerships can be mutually beneficial. Practitioners who deliver programs to children and youth can benefit from research that helps them understand how their programs operate, how to improve outcomes for different types of youth in different contexts, and the extent to which their programs are achieving desired outcomes. Researchers interested in developing and evaluating programs to serve youth can improve their theories and interventions by gathering data in a real-life setting and integrating the practitioner’s perspectives and needs.

When researchers and practitioners build collaborations—researcher-practitioner partnerships (RPPs)—they can ensure that research questions and methods meet the needs of the program, yield results that can be used to improve programming, and generate practical scientific knowledge. Unfortunately, practitioners and researchers often fail to obtain mutually beneficial outcomes due to obstacles such as miscommunication, logistical challenges, practitioners with limited resources that serve populations with urgent needs, and competing or misunderstood goals for working together.