No-one’s discussing the elephant in the room: Contemplating questions of research impact and benefit in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian health research

Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Associate Prof Roxanne Bainbridge

A perennial question in Indigenous research discourse is whether the abundance of research conducted, purportedly to improve health, is justified and benefits Indigenous people in ways that are meaningful and valued by them. Different research stakeholders have different conceptions of the value and nature of research, its conduct, what it should achieve and the kinds of impact expected. The purpose of this presentation is to open a frank conversation about the value of research to Indigenous Australian populations and to stimulate ways of thinking about potential resolutions to the lack of progress made in the Indigenous research impact debate. The research impact debate must take account of the various standards of accountability (to whom), impact priorities (for whom), positive and negative impacts, and biases that operate in describing and measuring impact. As a point of departure to improving impact and reaching mutually beneficial outcomes for researchers and partners in Indigenous health research, we need to routinise the assessment of impact from outset of research as one of the standards toward which we work.