Building Productive Relationships: District Leaders’ Advice to Researchers


  • Christopher Harrison Northwestern University
  • Kristen Davidson The University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Caitlin Farrell The University of Colorado, Boulder



Research use, Research-practice partnership, District leadership


Expectations for the role of research in educational improvement are high. Meeting these expectations requires productive relationships between researchers and practitioners. Few studies, however, have systematically explored the ways researchers can build stronger, more productive relationships with practitioners. This study seeks to identify such strategies by examining district leaders’ views of how researchers might work with practitioners in more effective, beneficial, and collaborative ways. Through an analysis of 147 interviews with 80 district leaders in three urban school districts, we identify several key pieces of advice highlighted by district leaders for researchers. For researchers, these findings reveal potential strategies for shaping the design, conduct, and communication of their research in order to ensure its usefulness for practitioners. 




How to Cite

Harrison, C., Davidson, K., & Farrell, C. (2017). Building Productive Relationships: District Leaders’ Advice to Researchers. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 12(4).