Reflections on 'Aboriginalising' the Research Process

Hunting and Gathering' as a Focus Group Methodology

  • Marlene Burchill
    University of Melbourne
  • Phyllis Lau
    University of Melbourne
  • Priscilla Pyett
    Monash University
  • Steve Kelly
    La Trobe University
  • Peter Waples-Crowe
    Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • Siaw-Teng Liaw
    University of New South Wales


This article describes the way a multidisciplinary research team set about 'Aboriginalising' their research processes in the initial phase of a project that aimed to develop a culturally appropriate model of care for urban Aboriginal people with diabetes. Although academic conventions and protocols tended to dominate, the project incorporated the innovative approach that the Aboriginal researchers brought to the process of recruiting and facilitating focus groups, which they likened to 'hunting and gathering'. In developing and strengthening partnerships between research institutions and Aboriginal communities, it is important that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers challenge the conventional academic models of research in ways that are culturally appropriate and informed by Aboriginal scholarship. This article illustrates the difficulties and challenges on both sides of the partnership. It concludes by outlining the key principles learnt during the first phase of the project.

Published: 2011-06-01
Pages:29 to 39
Section: Articles
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How to Cite
Burchill, M., Lau, P., Pyett, P., Kelly, S., Waples-Crowe, P., & Liaw, S.-T. (2011). Reflections on ’Aboriginalising’ the Research Process: Hunting and Gathering’ as a Focus Group Methodology. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 4(2), 29-39.