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Educational Policy special issue: The Politics of Research-Practice Partnerships

January 30, 2023
by Joanna Meyer

PEER is pleased to announce that an article written by the founding PEER management team, Joanna Meyer, Dr. Clare Waterman, Dr. Michael Strambler, and George Coleman, is featured in the January 2023 special issue of Education Policy. The special issue is entitled The Politics of Research-Practice Partnerships, and it explores how research-practice partnerships (RPPs) manage internal and external political forces that have the potential to impact collaborative research.

RPPs are collaborations between research-focused organizations and practice-focused organizations that conduct research designed to improve education. Although there is promise in the RPP approach of bringing researchers and practitioners together to answer thorny questions and solve complex problems, RPPs must navigate politics related to differences in priorities and perspectives, contrasting organizational cultures, and limited resources (time as well as money).

Dr. Kyo Yamashiro of Loyola Marymount University, Dr. Laura Wentworth of California Education Partners, and Dr. Moonhawk Kim of University of California, Berkeley led the creation of this special issue because they wanted to bring together authors who could speak to how a variety of RPPs had managed the politics of collaborative research. The editors open the special issue by describing the state of the research on the politics of RPPs and then explaining the topics around which the special issue is organized:

  • Internal Politics Within Partner Organizations,
  • Politics in Partnership Development and Sustainability,
  • Politics of Research Production and Use, and
  • Politics of Addressing Equity and Transformation in RPPs.

PEER’s founding management team contributed to the second section with an article entitled, Whose Agenda is It? Navigating the Politics of Setting the Research Agenda in Education Research-Practice Partnerships. In this article, the authors describe the politics that come into play when establishing a research agenda, along with principles of effective collaboration and factors that can help or hinder collaboration and power-sharing when setting a research agenda. The authors illustrate these themes with examples from PEER and the Vermont Universal PreK Research Partnership, an RPP led by the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands at Education Development Center (EDC). Writing this piece provided ample opportunities for the founding management team to reflect on PEER’s work over the past 8 years.

Overall, this special issue brings together the perspectives of researchers and practitioners who have developed and supported a wide range of RPPs. As well as highlighting lessons from existing RPPs and offering advice for new RPPs, it presses readers to consider how RPPs can fulfill the promise of collaborative research to support the improvement and transformation of education.

Submitted by Joanna Meyer on February 01, 2023