“You helped us and now we’re going to all help you”: What we learned about how to do research together

LCJ 23 cover

Lisa Hall, Linda Anderson, Fiona Gibson, Mona Kantawara, Barbara Martin and Yamurna Oldfield

LCJ: Special Issue:

Ethical relationships, ethical research in Aboriginal contexts: Perspectives from central Australia, 23, pp. 16-31
https://doi.org/10.18793/LCJ2018.23.03

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Citation
Hall, L., Anderson, L., Gibson, F., Kantawara, M., Martin, B. & Oldfield, Y. (2018). “You helped us and now we’re going to all help you”: What we learned about how to do research together. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: Ethical relationships, ethical research in Aboriginal contexts: Perspectives from central Australia], 23, 16-31. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18793/LCJ2018.23.03

 

Abstract

This paper is a critically reflective “think piece” that explores a collaborative process of doing research in an intercultural space as well as identifying what focusing on such a process produces. While it originates from a PhD project centred on the concern for the low number of people becoming qualified as teachers from remote Aboriginal communities in central Australia, this paper does not directly discuss that topic. Instead it discusses how a non-Indigenous researcher (Lisa) worked with a group of fully qualified Aboriginal teachers (including Linda, Fiona, Mona, Barbara and Yamurna) to explore this common concern. The focus here is on the collective processes we used in doing the work together, and how that ensured that the research happened ethically and relationally, such that everyone was left with a “good feeling” at the end of the work. This paper talks about the conversational or dialogic approach we took in our work together and how we discovered the paths that felt “right” for the research to take. It contains some examples of our conversations that we recorded throughout the research process and names some of the things that made the work we were doing together feel “right”. Together we discovered new knowledge about how we communicated with each other, what true informed consent looked and felt like for everyone involved, the central importance of our existing relationships, and the role of reciprocity in intercultural research.

 

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