Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 5, No. 1 (2008)

Making an impact researching with Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Bronwyn Fredericks, Monash University

Abstract

There has been a long history of research conducted on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. There has been a plethora of reports, books, articles and theses generated. Some of these have been useful and informed policy and programs that have impacted positively on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Some have not. As a result of the amount of research that has taken place, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a wealth of experience and knowledge about research. So much so, that Indigenous people write about it, talk about, tell jokes about, get angry about it and as Smith indicates “even write poetry about research” (1999, p.1). This paper will explore some of the issues experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It will additionally highlight some of the more recently published documents that address researching with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and highlight some of the new research developments which impact upon this research. Moreover, it will stress that when research is undertaken in ways that are suggested that it can have a positive impact on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and more broadly.

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