We can give the National Institute of Justice a hard time for forcing states to warp their programs to fit overly-hyped methodologies du jour in order to get/keep grants, as it did with the Second Chance Act program in OK in my own experience. And its tendency to see the researcher-practitioner interaction as primarily one-way in beneficence has been aggravating for many years. However, that said, let’s give NIJ props when it addresses those kinds of complaints with full-out examination and discussion of those relationships as they have recently in the research abstracted below via NCJRS
(abstracts, Nov 30, 2013). LOTS of good stuff here for those of you who work with researchers and evaluators and want to max all that out, now with the imprimatur of NIJ. So save this post for future reference and take heart that, like BJS in recent years, NIJ is getting closer to looking at us in the states as partners, not recipients.
Recommendations for Collaborating Successfully With Academic Researchers, Findings from the Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Study (RPPS)
Tami P. Sullivan; Enna Khondkaryan; Bonnie S. Fisher
These recommendations for criminal justice practitioners are intended to assist them in having a positive influence in partnerships with academic researchers whose studies are relevant to the practitioners’ work. The broad aims of the recommendations are to help practitioners plan for future research collaboration that will function as seamlessly as possible and produce findings that have significant impact on features and outcomes of practices, policies, and services. Seven recommendations are offered. First, identify and build relationships and rapport with academic researchers working in the practitioner’s field. Second, interpret and persuade researchers of the value of practitioners’ input for their work. Third, identify and work with researchers who are willing to become familiar with issues, concerns, and problems that practitioners regularly confront. Fourth, plan for the resources (time and money) that will be required for practitioners to have a meaningful role in research that involves their participation. Fifth, establish a formal agreement that documents the roles of each party and expected outcomes of the research. Sixth, identify a research point person or develop an internal research committee. Seventh, become informed about the methods required for valid and reliable research.
How Researchers Can Develop Successful Relationships With Criminal Justice Practitioners, Findings from the Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Study (RPPS)
Tami P. Sullivan; Enna Khondkaryan; Lauren Moss-Racusi; Bonnie S. Fisher
In order to facilitate productive partnerships between criminal justice practitioners and academic researchers in the criminal justice field, this study developed recommendations for both practitioners and researchers; this paper offers recommendations for researchers. First, practitioners and researchers who participated in this study nearly unanimously agreed that a strong relationship based on trust is the most critical component of a successful collaboration. Second, researchers should network with criminal justice practitioners, professional organizations, and colleagues in the community. Third, clearly communicating expectations and mutually agreeing on project goals are necessary for a successful collaboration. Fourth, researchers should initiate and value practitioners’ involvement in their research, given their direct experience with individuals, programs, and policies in the criminal justice system. Fifth, researchers as well as the researcher-practitioner relationship will benefit from the researcher being a participant-observer in the practitioner’s responsibilities and decisionmaking. Sixth, researchers can enhance the working relationship with practitioners by acquainting them with the research processes of design, data collection, data analysis, and drawing implications of research findings for policy and practice. Seventh, researchers should maximize the usefulness of products for practitioners. Eighth, since collaboration involves more input and involvement from practitioners, researchers should budget for extra time in conducting the research. These recommendations stem from individual interviews and focus groups, data analysis, and a Web-based survey.
Strategies for Successfully Developing and Disseminating Useful Products From Researcher Practitioner Collaborations, Findings from the Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Study (RPPS)
Tami P. Sullivan; Tiara C. Willie; Bonnie S. Fisher
This paper, which was developed from the Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Study (RPPS), presents recommendations for planning and disseminating useful products from collaborative researcher-practitioner research. Four recommendations are offered. First, during the development stage of the study, discuss the interim and final products and their intended impact. This facilitates communication, clarifies the expectations of both practitioners and researchers, contributes to the design of a project that will answer questions to be answered in the research, and reduces challenges regarding the dissemination of unexpected findings. Second, ensure that products are developed specifically for the people who have the greatest potential to impact change based on research findings. The researcher and practitioner should decide which person(s) have such influence. Third, develop a dissemination plan that will reach multiple audiences. So that products have the best chance of reaching the intended audience, products should be free and broadly accessible. Some guidelines are provided in this paper for ensuring such broad dissemination. Fourth, write in nontechnical language that is understandable to the target audience. This makes it more likely that the information will be used to shape policy and practice. This objective can be facilitated by having the researcher and practitioner cooperate in developing the content and wording of products to be disseminated to a wide audience. This paper offers guidelines for writing style, product content, and review prior to dissemination.
Highlights and Lowlights of Researcher-Practitioner Collaborations in the Criminal Justice System, Findings from the Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Study (RPPS)
Tami P. Sullivan ; Tiara C. Willie ; Bonnie S. Fisher
As part of the Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Study (RPPS), a Web-based survey of criminal justice State Administrative Agencies (SAAs) was conducted to learn how the infrastructure of SAAs allows them to conduct research and support researcher-practitioner collaborations, as well as how SAAs are impacting the criminal justice system through research findings. SAAs were found to have educated, experienced staff that can analyze data and conduct research; and they recognize the importance of research evidence in informing their mission. In addition, the survey found that collaborations between SAAs and researchers outside of the criminal justice system are common. This is because SAAs have determined there is a need for such collaboration in the context of researchers analyzing criminal justice data. In seeking research collaborators, SAAs have focused on those with experience or a working knowledge of the criminal justice system, so as to ensure that findings are relevant and useful to criminal justice operations. Available funding has been a key factor in SAAs’ developing a research-practitioner collaboration. In addition to lack of funding, time restrictions and bureaucratic “red tape” have been the greatest barriers in SAAs’ development of research collaboration. Also, differences in opinion/approach with researchers were present in just over 70 percent of practitioner respondents. Although most SAAs acknowledge the importance of using research evidence to inform their mission, collaborations have not produced many meaningful, practical products. Suggestions are offered for how SAAs can improve the number and usefulness of researcher-practitioner research projects.
Evidence-Based Policy and Practice: The Role of the State in Advancing Criminal Justice Research, Findings from the Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Study (RPPS)
Tami P. Sullivan; Bronwyn A. Hunter; Bonnie S. Fisher
A Web-based survey of SAA’s throughout the country (75 respondents from 49 States) and individual interviews and focus groups with researchers and practitioners found that 70 percent of SAAs represented used research findings to inform the agency’s mission. Eighty-nine percent reported that their agency/department had collaborated with a researcher in the past 5 years. Factors identified as “most helpful” in developing a collaboration with a researcher were the availability of funding and researchers, allocated time for collaboration, and an institutional culture that supports researcher-practitioner collaboration. Although generally supportive of such collaborative research, only 36 percent of respondents reported products from collaborations that directly influenced practices, services, or policies. Nine recommendations are offered from the RPPS. First, develop the relationship between the researcher and practitioner, integrating the skills of each throughout the process. Second, encourage practitioners involvement in research design and implementation, and third, cross-train to facilitate mutual learning. Fourth, obtain investment from administrators in order to move a project forward. Fifth, provide funding opportunities. Sixth, revise “red tape” regulations to encourage collaborative research. Seventh, encourage collaboratively developed research agendas. Eighth, realize the value in sustaining researcher-practitioner relationships. Ninth, publish and present findings for both researcher and practitioner audiences.