: There is growing demand for robust evidence to address complex social phenomena such as violence against women and girls (VAWG). Research partnerships between scientists and non-governmental or international organizations (NGO/IO) are increasingly popular, but can pose challenges, including concerns about potential conflicts of interest. Drawing on our experience collaborating on VAWG research, we describe challenges and contributions that NGO/IO and academic partners can make at different stages of the research process and the effects that collaborations can have on scientific inquiry. Partners may struggle with differing priorities and misunderstandings about roles, limitations, and intentions. Benefits of partnerships include a shared vision of study goals, differing and complementary expertise, mutual respect, and a history of constructive collaboration. Our experience suggests that when investigating multi-faceted social problems, instead of 'rigging' study results, research collaborations can strengthen scientific rigor and offer the greatest potential for impact in the communities we seek to serve.<br/
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