Practitioner Inquiry Matters: Questions by and for Youth Workers


  • Lindsay Walz courageous heARTS
  • Hayley Tompkins Minneapolis Beacons/YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities



The Journal of Youth Development’s subtitle is “Bridging Research and Practice,” yet too often our publications reflect a one-way bridge— studies that, at best, have implications for practice. Less represented are practitioner inquiries that rely on practitioner experience and expertise. This special issue aims to bridge the research-practice divide with scholarship produced by youth work practitioners. This article provides a rationale for practitioner inquiry, describes a fellowship effort to support it, and then offers an overview of the ten practitioner inquiries featured in this special issue.


Bialeschki, M. D. & Conn, M. (2011). Welcome to our world: Bridging youth development research in nonprofit and academic communities. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(1), 300-306.

Konopka, G. (1973). Requirements for healthy development of adolescent youth. Adolescence, 8(31), 291-316.

Larson, R., Walker, K., Rusk, N., & Diaz, L.B. (2015). Understanding youth development from the practitioner’s point of view: A call for research on effective practice. Applied Developmental Science, 19(2), 74-86.