Research has the greatest potential to impact change in practice and policy when (a) it is conducted in collaboration with practitioners rather than conducted by academic researchers alone, and (b) its findings are clearly communicated to the people who influence policy and practice in a useful, easy‐to‐read format (Block, Engel, Naureckas, & Riordan, 1999; Mouradian, Mechanic, & Williams, 2001). The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has devoted a great deal of effort to promoting research collaborations with practitioners in the criminal justice (CJ) system. As a result, there have been many successful partnerships. However, the lessons about what contributed to those and similar successful partnerships between researchers and practitioners have not been documented, synthesized, and shared in a way that could inform the development of successful partnerships in the future. Therefore, the goal of this study was to improve our understanding of successful research collaborations between those working within and outside of the CJ system so that these “lessons learned” can be shared to promote the creation of new partnerships and enhance existing ones.