Abstract

In many instances, departments of social work in universities and community-based social services agencies have common interests in improving professional practice and advancing knowledge in the profession. Effective university—community research collaborations can help partners achieve these goals jointly, but to be effective these collaborative partnerships require considerable effort and understanding by all partners involved. This article provides to novice investigators and social work agencies new to research partnerships an integrated discussion of important issues to develop the groundwork necessary for building and maintaining effective university—community social work collaborations. Through experience gained from a series of social work research partnerships, as well as an overview of relevant literature, the authors offer a set of strategies for building and sustaining research collaborations between university and community-based social work professionals. The general topics discussed are technology exchange, adopting a longitudinal perspective, knowing your partners, and practical contracting/budgetary issues. The article has relevance to beginning social work researchers, social work educators, and social work practitioners seeking to engage in collaborative partnerships that improve social work practice through research and advance the knowledge base of the profession.

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