Edited by Joanna Crossman and Sarbari Bordia
Chapter 16: Reflexivity, relationships and remoteness: applying qualitative research tools in Australian Aboriginal communities
The following chapter draws on the experience of using qualitative methods (in particular Grounded Theory) in the context of a doctoral research project that worked with Aboriginal communities in Australia. Highlighting key issues to consider when entering this context as an ‘outsider’, it offers a reflection on the lessons learned throughout the research process. As a novice researcher it was found that reflexivity was a particularly useful tool in working through the more complex interactions and power dynamics that exist between the research, researcher and participants. Furthermore, building respectful and reciprocal relationships through qualitative approaches such as ethnography was found to be highly beneficial to the integrity of the research. Interviewing participants from a culture other than my own, for whom English was a second, third or fourth language, required engagement with an Aboriginal Community Researcher and interpreter. This role proved to be broader than originally anticipated, incorporating both cultural brokerage and research support. Flexibility in the research process is also discussed as key to working in remote contexts, including adapting interview style, location, and timing of the project to meet participants’ needs. Overall, the chapter provides a unique perspective of the benefits of qualitative research in cross-cultural research in the Australian context.
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