Co-developing a mutually agreed upon research agenda that will guide the work of the partnership is one of the defining features of research-practice partnerships. By having the practitioner voice incorporated early on in the research process, RPPs can leverage first-hand knowledge of the most pressing problems of practice and use it to directly inform the research questions. This, in turn, can help facilitate the production of research that is more useful to practitioners. First time co-development of a research agenda may necessitate extra time from both sides, especially if researchers and practitioners are still working towards developing a shared language within which to discuss research.

Some additional guiding questions:


  • How many people should help develop the agenda? (Size matters. Too many voices, and the purpose of the meeting can easily get lost.)
  • Which roles or departments should be represented from the researcher or practitioner side?
  • How often is the research agenda revisited and/or updated?
  • Where do these conversations take place (i.e., at the research institution or the practitioner’s home base or somewhere neutral)?
  • Who needs to know what is on the research agenda? How will this be communicated to those stakeholders?
  • How long or short term is the research agenda? Are there projects that are appropriate for both timelines?


“Developing a Coherent Research Agenda: Lessons from the REL Northeast & Islands Research Agenda Workshops”

Year: 2014

This is a report describing how REL Northeast & Islands‘ research alliances work to develop research agendas. The link also includes materials such as templates for identifying priority topics and creating a coherent, multiyear research agenda and a facilitator’s guide.


“Collaborative Research: How Do New Alliances Cohere?”

Year: 2013

This blog post in REL Northeast & Islands‘ News section summarizes feedback and input by partnership members about creating research agendas.




Sample Research Agendas

“Sample Alliance Work Session: Framing Your Research Agenda Using a Research Continuum”

Year: 2013

This work session is an actual example of a REL Southwest research alliance, the Arkansas PreK Research Alliance, developing its research agenda.

“Working Group Summaries OLN Research Alliance”

Years: 2014-2015

This is an example of working group summaries, which include goals, key staff, and proposed activities of different partnership working groups within the Oregon Leadership Network Research Alliance. 



“Developing a Research Agenda: Experiences of REL Northeast & Islands”

Year: 2013

This video describes the REL Northeast & Islands approach of creating research agendas.

“Cross-Alliance Webinar: Framing Your Research Agenda Using a Research Continuum”

Year: 2013

This REL Southwest webinar provides guidance for developing research agendas for research alliances. Links to several handouts are also included.


“Collaboration Takes Center Stage at REL-NEI Research Alliances”

Year: 2014

In this short video, REL Northeast & Islands discusses its early work to develop collaborative research agendas that respond to local needs.