The authors would like to thank Abraham F. Lowenthal for conceiving and co-organizing the international conference at the University of Southern California which led to the preparation of this manuscript. We are grateful to Dr. Lowenthal and three anonymous reviewers for thoughtful comments on previous versions of this article. We have also benefitted from comments and discussions with Richard Snyder, Blanca Heredia, and Kevin Casas-Zamora. We express special thanks to Jason Tockman, who worked together with us as a rapporteur in preparing the first version of the workshop report upon which this article is based.
Toward “Best Practices” in Scholar–Practitioner Relations: Insights from the Field of Inter-American Affairs†
Article first published online: 4 OCT 2012
© 2012 International Studies Association
International Studies Perspectives
Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 54–72, February 2014
How to Cite
2014) Toward “Best Practices” in Scholar–Practitioner Relations: Insights from the Field of Inter-American Affairs. International Studies Perspectives, doi: 10.1111/j.1528-3585.2012.00511.x © 2012 International Studies Association, , and . (
We also gratefully acknowledge financial assistance granted by the School of International Relations and the Center for International Studies, the Office of Global Initiatives in the Office of the Provost, and the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, the Latin America, and the Caribbean Regional Bureau of the United Nations Development Program, the International Development Research Centre of Canada, and the Fundación Vidanta of Mexico.
- Issue published online: 14 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 4 OCT 2012
- School of International Relations and the Center for International Studies
- Office of Global Initiatives in the Office of the Provost
- Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California
- Latin America
- Caribbean Regional Bureau of the United Nations Development Program
- International Development Research Centre of Canada
- Fundación Vidanta of Mexico
- best practices;
- international relations;
- inter-American affairs
This paper explores a number of success stories of scholar–practitioner interactions on issues such as democracy promotion, fostering economic development, reducing extreme income inequality, and foreign policymaking toward the United States, among others, to argue that the so-called scholar–practitioner gap in International Relations might not be as wide as it may seem. It also highlights some of the salient limits to effective relations between the worlds of ideas and policy, and it discusses the main transmission belts—both individual and institutional—through which scholarly outputs influence the different stages of policymaking. The paper closes by proposing a number of “best practices” to enhance effective scholar–practitioner relations in inter-American affairs and beyond, including tying research to significant world events, synthesizing research findings into digestible components, developing relations of trust with allies in government, providing concrete policy recommendations based on rigorous research and cost-effectiveness analyses, and integrating practitioners into academic departments, among others.