The following should be considered when selecting an appropriate research partner:
Education and Experience: Your research partner should have graduate-level training as well as specific experience working with criminal justice practitioners and court-based programs. While experience working in a criminal justice/court setting is not a requirement for a research partner, it can be helpful.
Philosophy: Researchers approach evaluation in different ways. It is important to select a research partner that can work effectively with the project team. It is important to understand if the research partner plans to be actively involved in the implementation of your project and if he or she views themselves as a member of the team or as an external expert who maintains distance. Understanding the research partner’s approach to the project will help you assess “fit” with your team and your project. Consider the following questions when selecting a research partner: (1) Can you call the research partner to discuss implementation problems or does the research partner see this as inappropriate? (2) Does the research partner plan to interview program participants and project staff?
Communication Skills: Research partners must be able to communicate with a wide variety of individuals throughout the project, including judges, court staff, prosecutors, law enforcement leadership and line officers, probation and parole, treatment providers, and court users/participants. Select a research partner who is personable and engaging and able to clearly present findings and conclusions both orally and in written form.