Maggie McGuire, a research associate at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, and Samantha L. Cocco, administrative specialist at the Begun Center, gave a presentation titled “Why Should I Let Researchers on My Team? Ways to Leverage Practitioner-Researcher Partnerships” at the End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) conference earlier this month.
Their presenation touched on the chasm that can seemingly exist between research on sexual assault and the lived experience of survivors of gender-based violence and those who serve them. In this day of big data and evidence-based practices, there is a push to involve researchers in how sexual assaults are investigated and prosecuted and how services are offered to survivors, but it is not always clear how this relationship benefits practitioners.
This presentation addressed some fundamental questions about researcher-practitioner relationships based on McGuire’s and Cocco’s experiences as applied researchers who work diligently to make their work available to the widest audience possible, particularly around issues of gender-based violence.
The presenters discussed how to determine if a particular researcher (or research team) will be a good fit for a multidisciplinary team, how to partner with researchers in designing research questions that will be useful for a team, how to interpret results (and how to push back if those results don’t line up with a lived truth), and how to communicate findings in ways that will be meaningful to audiences, including policymakers and institutional leadership.
Using a group exercise, participants also worked together to develop a set of research questions that could benefit their own organizations and design a dissemination strategy for results.