Research-Practice Guidelines

Research-Practice Integration

AED Research-Practice Initiative

Access the AED Guidelines for Research-Practice Integration, created by the AED Research-Practice Committee in an effort to advance research and practice partnership in the field of eating disorders. Accompanying the general guidelines is the AED Action Plan which outlines a strategic plan for research-practice integration within the AED.

History of the AED Research-Practice Initiative

The AED Research-Practice Initiative took form in 2007 following an informal survey1 that posed two questions of 32 AED members:

  1. There appears to be a researcher-clinician gap in our field. What do you think is the main cause of this gap?
  2. What is one step we can take to close the gap?

The responses to this survey were uniformly thoughtful and united in their concern about the importance of finding effective ways to encourage research-practice integration. The responses also suggested that the impediments to research-practice integration were multi-layered and complex in nature.

The AED Research-Practice Committee (RPC) was then created and charged with the task of further exploring factors that block research-practice integration and developing a strategic plan for promoting partnership between researchers and practitioners.

Research-Practice Committee

2021-22 Co-Chairs:

2021-22 Committee Members:

  • Kristen Anderson
  • Kelsey Clark
  • Gina Dimitropoulos 
  • Seena Grewal
  • Maria La Via 
  • Helena Lewis-Smith 
  • Caitlin McMaster 
  • Claudia Paola Garcia Parker
  • Abby Sarrett-Cooper 
  • Ashlie Watters 
  • Board Liaison: Karen Jennings Mathis 
  • Staff Liaison: Dawn Gannon

The RPC developed the following mission and goals statement:

Mission: To improve the quality of research, clinical practice, and prevention in the field of eating disorders by facilitating an ongoing transfer of knowledge from research into practice and from practice into research, while working to eliminate the factors that result in polarization of these two critical aspects of our field.

Goals: The RPC aims to promote the development of an integrated research-practice culture within the AED by facilitating:

  • the development of effective evidence-based practices, while ensuring that research remains focused upon, and relevant to, practice concerns;
  • the development and sharing of innovative clinical practices and observations to guide the nature and direction of research; and
  • the promotion of a culture of mutual respect across disciplines.


Banker, J., & Klump, K. (2007). Toward a Common Ground:  Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice in the Field of Eating Disorders.The AED Forum, January.

Banker,J.D., & Klump, K.L.(2009). Research and  Clinical Practice: A Dynamic Tension in the Field of Eating Disorders, In I.F Dancyger & V.M. Fornari (Eds.), Evidence Based Treatments for Eating Disorders, pp. 71-86. Nova Science Publishers, New York.

Kazdin, A.E. (2008). Evidence-Based Treatment and Practice: New Opportunities to Bridge Clinical Research and Practice, Enhance the Knowledge Base, and Improve Patient Care, American Psychologist, 63(3), 146-159.

Levant, R. F. (2006). APA Presidential Task Force Report on Evidence-Based Practice, Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology, American Psychologist, 61(4), 271-285.

1The survey and responses are more fully described in: Banker, J., & Klump, K. (2007).  Toward a Common Ground:  Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice in the Field of Eating Disorders.  The AED Forum, January.

General Guidelines for Research-Practice Integration in the Field of Eating Disorders

Developed by the AED Research-Practice Committee (2009)1


A knowledge base built on information from research and practice is critical for providing the highest quality patient care. Therefore, the AED developed these general guidelines to help strengthen research-practice integration in the field of eating disorders. 


Principles from the fields of knowledge transfer, innovation diffusion, and Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) were applied to the development of these guidelines.  A unifying framework was borrowed from the field of education, which has been addressing its own research-practice gap for over a decade by integrating knowledge transfer and innovation diffusion principles into its strategic approach (Donovan et al., 2007; Warford, 2005; Love, 1985). 


The Academy for Eating Disorders is committed to supporting and enacting the guiding principles outlined above.  As an organization, we are convinced that long-range, systemic changes in the way in which research and practice are conceptualized and integrated will result in a stronger knowledge base on which to prevent, research, and treat eating disorders.  To that end, it is our hope that eating disorder professionals and other eating disorder organizations will join us in endorsing these guidelines, and adopting and implementing them within their practices, groups, organizations, and institutions.  As part of our strategic plan, the AED has developed a specific action plan designed to enact these guidelines within our own organization and the eating disorders field at large (see Appendix). 

Guiding Principles for Research-Practice Integration


  • Eating disorder professionals should recognize that scientific data and clinical observation, judgment and experience (i.e., tacit knowledge) contribute to the knowledge base in our field.  This recognition will support the respectful dialogue and communication that is critical to true research-practice integration in our field.
  • Training programs, conferences, and workshops should emphasize communication and collaboration between researchers and practitioners to allow clinical data and observations to reach researchers and research findings to reach practitioners.  These training settings should place a strong emphasis on the value of empirical data and clinical observation and provide hands on opportunities for research-practice integration.
  • Conferences and workshops in our field should strive to model research-practice integration by ensuring that all conference activities integrate research and practice through the inclusion of empirical data, clinical observations, and information on clinical and research implications of the work.
  • Advocacy efforts should focus on generating research funding mechanisms that focus on the dissemination of research findings into clinical practice as well as direct testing of clinical observational data in empirical studies. These funding mechanisms should emphasize researcher-clinician partnerships and explicitly acknowledge the value provided by both types of expertise.


  • Empirical and clinical articles, presentations, and conference abstracts should limit the use of jargon and, when necessary, provide plain language summaries that enhance interpretability by researchers, clinicians, and clinician-researchers alike.
  • Across all forms of print and electronic media, value should be placed on the unique information that can be obtained from empirical research as well as clinical observation.  Perhaps more importantly, pieces on the integration of empirical research with clinical practice should be a top priority for all forms of media in our field.
  • To facilitate comprehension of research and clinical findings and techniques, professional training and education activities should include interactive, participatory learning methods including mentoring, supervision, simulation, role-play, and the use of small discussion or work groups.


  • Research-practice integration must remain a top priority in the field in order to enact and sustain the changes outlined in these principles.
  • Changes in training programs, conferences, and workshops should be continually evaluated and, if necessary, revised to ensure that the goals of research-practice integration are achieved.
  • The principles outlined in this document must also be evaluated and, if necessary, revised to ensure that the strategic plan for research-practice integration in our field remains current, accurate, and effective. 


Donovan, M.S., Bransford, J.D., and Pellegrino, J.W. (Eds.), (2007). How People Learn; Bridging Research and Practice, Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington DC.

Love, J.M. (1985). Knowledge Transfer and Utilization in Education, Review of Research in Education, 12, 337-386.

Warford, M.K. (2005). Testing A Diffusion of Innovations in Education Model (DIEM), The
Innovation Journal:  The Public Sector Innovation Journal, 10 (3), Article 32.

1 AED Research-Practice Committee (2009) includes co-chairs: Judith Banker and Kelly Klump and members: Drew Anderson, Angela Favaro, Isabel Krug, Bob Palmer, Susan Paxton, Jill Pollack, Dana Satir, and Howard Steiger