Transformative research strategies with Indigenous families and communities

Tuesday, 2 July 2019
Dr Ailsa Munns

Provision of positive environments for Aboriginal children’s developmental health is recognised as fundamental to lifelong health and wellbeing. Developing an evidence base for strengths based approaches to support parents and communities needs effective partnerships between researchers, Aboriginal parents and service providers. 

Participatory Action Research (PAR) facilitates the inclusion of researchers and research consumers, allowing the consumers’ voices to be heard throughout the research process. Their unique psychosocial circumstances can be recognised and their responses to program outputs evaluated on a regular ongoing basis. This encourages culturally relevant, acceptable, authentic and sustainable program development. 

Development of parent support programs in urban and remote areas of Western Australia has highlighted the benefits of PAR in engaging Aboriginal parents, Aboriginal peer support workers, their communities and researchers. Of note has been the processes of engagement, allowing all parties to work in partnership to develop self-identified and enabling approaches for supporting Aboriginal parents with children in the early years. This presentation will discuss the fundamental elements to engaging and working within PAR methodology, which allowed the participants to collaboratively explore culturally acceptable research strategies to inform the evidence base for sustainable and acceptable parent support programs in Western Australia.