Source: (2008) Report of the fifth conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, Building restorative justice in Europe: cooperation between the public, policy makers, practitioners and researchers, Verona.

In the Belgian experience, collaboration between researchers and practitioners has been one of the key factors to stimulate the development of restorative justice. But what kind of research are we talking about? How can we conceive a respectful collaboration? In this workshop, the concept and practice of action-research were discussed: how can researchers and practitioners work together in developing innovative practices or evaluating existing practices? The following topics were addressed: What is action-research? Why we should use it? How to start up action-research? Who should be involved? What are the pre-conditions? How can it be done in practice? Examples of victim-offender mediation, conferencing and restorative justice in prisons in Belgium. The possible outcomes of action-research and how to integrate it in further practice and policy development, and in ongoing research and theory building? The presenters are researchers and practitioners that were involved in action-research and therefore wish to present the theme in an interactive manner, to show the (dis)advantages of action-research from both sides. (excerpt)