Researcher-Practitioner Collaborations: Applying Developmental Science to Understand Sport Participation and Positive Youth Development

Andrea Vest Ettekal, Lily S. Konowitz, Jennifer P. Agans, Tina Syer, Richard M. Lerner


We report data from the first year of a three-year collaboration between a sport-based youth development program, Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), and a university-based research institute. The theory of change of PCA was tested with youth athletes, representing multiple sport types (e.g., individual/team) and seasons (e.g., fall/winter), who completed self-report surveys indexing a key facet of positive youth development—character. Noting assets and challenges of such researcher-practitioner collaborations, we discuss the results of the first year of data derived from this collaboration and differences in their use to the researchers and practitioners. Using this collaboration as a sample case, we discuss implications for refining how developmental scientists can advance outreach scholarship, and specifically researcher-practitioner engagement, through the use of developmental theory and methodology.


outreach scholarship; university-community engagement; higher education; character virtues

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