Our Approach


Activate curates, adapts, and creates evidence-informed, user-friendly resources using a variety of approaches and methods for translating research to practice.

Activate team members collaborate to determine the most appropriate combination of approaches to create, curate, or adapt each resource. Approaches may include a participatory approach, a systematizing approach to bridging research to practice, and Human-Centered Design.

Participatory approaches engage stakeholders in research along a continuum of participation, ranging from minimal participation to highly collaborative partnerships. Individuals and key stakeholder groups affected by an issue identify needs and engage in activities to co-create knowledge. Participatory approaches improve stakeholders’ technical skills and strengthen project quality, promote effectiveness and sustainability beyond initial funding, and generate system change.*

The Urban Institute developed the systematizing approach as part of the Bridging Research and Practice for Juvenile Justice project. The approach draws upon implementation science research, which emphasizes the importance of creating a continuous decision-making feedback loop and larger project goals. Decisions are based on a cycle of consideration of available evidence and feedback from stakeholders at multiple points.

Human-Centered Design is a creative problem-solving process that begins with understanding and cultivating deep empathy with the people who will use the product or service or deliver the solution (i.e., the end-user) to develop new ideas that are viable and appropriate. Potential end-users provide guidance and feedback to support the creation of innovative resources tailored to the unique needs of the intended audience.

These approaches have been used across a wide variety of contexts with demonstrated success in creating resources for professionals and other end users.

Activate’s Research Translation Process

The Activate resource development translation process includes five stages:

  1. Design scope and work plan.
  2. Gather background information.
  3. Obtain end-user and stakeholder input.
  4. Prototype: Develop content and design.
  5. Disseminate and evaluate.

Activate team members use the findings from a needs assessment and reviews of existing research, resources, and additional background information (as appropriate), then work with potential end-users and other stakeholders to create, curate, and adapt resources. Informed by this critical input stage, Activate team members can develop resources tailored to the needs of youth-supporting professionals.

The resources, in turn, will aid professionals who work with youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems (e.g., youth in foster care, youth on probation), youth experiencing homelessness, and opportunity youth (i.e., youth who are disconnected from school and work), to apply research in their everyday work with young people.

With research-backed resources translated in a user-friendly, easily digestible manner, professionals can focus on what matters—encouraging young people to make healthy choices about their sexual and reproductive health.