Conducting research together with remote Aboriginal communities

Conducting research together with remote Aboriginal communities Conference Paper

14th National Rural Health Conference: A World of Rural Health

  • Author(s): Fitzpatrick, EFM, Oscar, J, Carter, M, Lawford, T, Martiniuk, AM, D'Antoine, H, Elliott, EJ
  • Secondary Author(s): Coleman, Leanne
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: National Rural Health Alliance

Abstract: Introduction: An international systematic literature review found that few publications evaluate the preference or understanding of an individual or group when seeking consent for research with Indigenous communities. Research with Indigenous communities has not always done in a way that address the priorities of the community, even if they are conducted in line with protocols such as the NHMRC guidelines. The Lililwan Project is an example of a study that was well received by the Aboriginal communities of Fitzroy Crossing receiving a 95% participation rate. In response, the community initiated the Picture Talk Project, to examine what had been learned about community engagement and consent process. In this paper we will discuss how findings inform current research policies and ethical guidelines. Methods: Invited by Aboriginal leaders of the Fitzroy Valley, researchers with the Picture Talk Project interview Aboriginal community leaders and focus group discussions were held with Aboriginal community members about research experiences and the consent process including the methodology used by the Lililwan Project. These are analysed using NVivo10 software with an integrated method of inductive and deductive coding and grounded theory. Local Aboriginal research team members, employed as Community Navigators to interpret language and provide cultural guidance, also validate the coding of data. Themes are synthesised and supporting quotes from participants were identified. This paper will explore three themes in the light of how they inform policy change. Results: Interviews with Aboriginal leaders (n=20) and focus groups (n=6) with Aboriginal community members (with 3 to 10 participants) were conducted in the presence of a local Aboriginal Community Navi gator to interpret language and provide cultural guidance. Participants were from different age groups, both males and females and from all major local language groups of the Fitzroy Valley. Themes include: • Research—finding knowledge • working together with good communication • being flexible with time. Insightful statements from individual participants exemplify these themes. Recommendations for research policy change are put forward based on these findings. Conclusion: Research policies and guidelines need to change so that researchers rethink the ways in which Aboriginal people are approached to engage in research. Respect for cultural differences needs to be better understood so that it can be embedded in every step of a research process. Aboriginal research partners should be engaged from the start to the end of any project. There needs 2 to be flexible timelines provided by funding bodies if a project is delayed for cultural reasons. Projects should specify how they aim to provide benefits to the community.

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Fitzpatrick, EFM, Oscar, J, Carter, M, Lawford, T, Martiniuk, AM, D'Antoine, H, Elliott, EJ, 2017, Conducting research together with remote Aboriginal communities, Conference Paper, viewed 07 December 2021,

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