1st Edition

Researcher-Policymaker Partnerships Strategies for Launching and Sustaining Successful Collaborations

Edited By Jenni W. Owen, Anita M. Larson Copyright 2017
    314 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    314 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Gone are the days when researchers, policymakers, and practitioners each worked in isolation. In recent years, a few interrelated issues have emphasized the need for greater collaboration among these groups: the increased emphasis on results and accountability (particularly where public funds are at stake), the need to improve services, and the growing use of technology. This book is about these all-important partnerships, specifically the relationships between those searching for evidence and those putting evidence to use, designing and implementing policy at the federal, state, or local level.

    Yet the science or art of how to create partnerships and how to make them work has just begun. This book offers the reader a toolkit for effective researcher/policymaker collaborations by exploring innovations underway around the country and developing an analytic framework to describe the process. It asks questions such as: What can we learn from these examples? How can and should partners communicate? Where should partners plan together, and where is it best to leave some separation to respect the differences in our roles? Through carefully chosen and organized case studies, this book demonstrates the motivations that lead to partnerships, the core elements of successful implementation, and the lessons to be learned about sustaining these relationships. It further examines the use of research once the research phase has concluded, as well as the ever-important consideration of investing in collaboration by both non-profit and public sector funders.

    For policymakers, this book offers a greater appreciation of the role of research in the policy process and new insights into different types of research. For researchers, the book provides insights into how best to formulate questions, how to work closely with those most affected, and how to communicate findings in ways that can be more easily understood by those who are depending on clear answers. Students of public policy, public administration, social work, and education will find much to inform future roles in research, policy or practice.


    [Joan Lombardi]


    1. Approach and Structure

    [Anita Larson and Jenni Owen]


    2. Motivations for Collaboration

    The Massachusetts Charter School Research Partnership

    [Carrie Conaway]

    Durham Public Schools and Duke University Research Partnership

    [Heidi Carter]

    The Bridge to Somewhere

    [Gabriella Celeste]


    3. Implementing Effective Partnerships

    Creating a Monitoring System for School Districts to Promote Academic, Social and Emotional Learning: A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership

    [Robert Schamberg, Celene E. Domitrovich, Laura Davidson, Ben Hayes, Trish Shaffer, Rachel A. Gordon, Marisa Crowder, Randal Brown, Ann McKay Bryson and Roger P. Weissberg]

    The San Diego Education Research Alliance3

    [Karen Volz Bachofer, Peter Bell, Julian R. Betts, Dina Policar, Ronald G. Rode and Andrew Zau]


    4. Sustaining Successful Partnerships

    Connecting Research and Policy: The Story of a Wisconsin Family Impact Seminar on Jobs

    [Karen Bogenschneider, Hilary Shager, Olivia Little and Stephanie Eddy]

    The Hennepin-University Partnership (HUP)

    [Kathie Doty]

    Sustaining a Research Partnership to Improve Educational Outcomes

    [Carolyn J. Heinrich, Vanderbilt University and Annalee Good, University of Wisconsin-Madison]


    5. Utilizing Research: An Intended Consequence

    The New Mexico–Results First Partnership: Lessons from a Long-Term, Evidence-Based Policymaking Collaboration

    [Gary VanLandingham and Darcy White]

    Minnesota’s Legislative Bipartisan Early Childhood Caucus

    [Karen Cadigan, PhD; Mary Nienow, MSW; and the Honorable Nora Slawik]


    6. Investing in Research, Investing in Policy Outcomes

    U.S. Office of Management and Budget and the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy

    [From Interviews with Jon Baron and Kathy Stack]


    7. The Bright Future of Researcher–Policymaker Partnerships

    [Jenni Owen and Anita Larson]





    Jenni W. Owen is Policy Director for North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. She is on leave from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy where she is a senior lecturer and the Director of Policy Engagement.

    Anita M. Larson teaches in the Public Administration program at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.

    "Bridging the existing and often wide gap between high quality, relevant research and public policy development and implementation is more critical today than ever before. Jenni W. Owen and Anita M. Larson have shown us the way in this book. The insightful, clear case studies coupled with Owen’s and Larson’s thoughtful, creative recommendations for and approaches to informing policymaking with research are extremely valuable. Their coherent and beneficial treatment of this topic adds significantly to the fast-emerging world of researcher–policymaker partnerships." – Thomas W. Ross, President of the Volcker Alliance and President Emeritus of the University of North Carolina, USA

    "In a time when researcher–policymaker partnerships are essential, this book provides helpful insights into strategies that are successfully addressing the struggles that current collaborators are experiencing. The examples illustrate dynamic relationships and the potential opportunities for successful collaborative practices. Jenni W. Owen and Anita M. Larson capture the reality that policymakers need data to inform decisions, ultimately providing a solution through broad value to federal, state, and local partnerships. This is a critical read for any researcher–policymaker collaboration." – Missy Coffey, Applied Engineering and Management Corporation, USA

    "Researcher-Policymaker Partnerships is a must read for all researchers, policymakers, policy advocates, and students who want to bring about a world where evidence-informed decisions are the norm. This book provides a roadmap for getting to evidence-informed social policy through an extensive landscape scan, rich case studies, and astute lessons learned from collaborations across the country." – Vivian Tseng, William T. Grant Foundation, USA

    "This book provides a timely resource for researchers and policy makers who want to make a difference by bringing rigorous research and analytic tools to a set of ‘wicked’ real world problems. Drawing from a wide swath of successful, sustained partnerships, the contributors discuss the importance of mutualism, relationships, trust, and the development and implementation of intentional routine practices." – John Q. Easton, Spencer Foundation, USA