ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER
RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES & FRAMEWORKS
Our work in the previous CRE in Integrated Quality Improvement (CRE-IQI; 2015-2019) strengthened Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research leadership, changing from an advisory group model to one that distributed leadership at all levels, supported by a reciprocal learning philosophy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous collaborators.
STRIDE builds on this work, and is committed to growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research leadership and methodologies throughout our structures and research programs.
STRIDE is underpinned by methodologies informing our way of thinking and doing that fosters culturally safe, strengths-based and transformative primary health care research for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The STRIDE Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Framework articulates these methodologies and provides guidance on how the collaboration can operationalise them. The framework was initially developed by STRIDE’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Committee. It consolidates key themes from existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research scholarship that are important to our goals and work plan. We expect the framework to be a living document; one that is regularly revised and improved as we journey along the STRIDE path together.
Application of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research methodologies supports the implementation of our guiding principles. We do not intend to provide a comprehensive review of the history, rationale or current application of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander philosophies in health research. Rather, we attempt to provide in our words descriptions of key themes from this scholarship as they relate to STRIDE.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research methodologies reference the theories and principles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been developing and practicing for tens of thousands of years. They are embodied in our culture that sees, knows and feels Country and connection of kin. They reflect a complex and integrated system of knowledge and beliefs. These practices and systems have sustained our culture and continue to provide resilience for our communities against challenges brought about by the impact of colonisation.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research methodologies in a scholarly sense emerged in response to the lack of acknowledgement and engagement with Indigenous philosophies within Western research. As such, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander methodologies have a decolonising intent, empowering us to represent our experiences and realities consistent with our own cultural understandings.
Our knowledge systems are holistic and relational. Our health encompasses our relationship to Country, culture, spirituality, community and family. With this relationality comes responsibility, reciprocity and respect. We have a responsibility to look after Country and each other. As such, social processes and relationships are of utmost importance and this extends to research conduct. It requires Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander/non-Indigenous researchers to locate themselves within the community context: building relationships and immersing research inquiries within culture and Country, thereby critically re-evaluating and re-orienting their own viewpoints steeped within their own culture, knowledge and position.