Historically, health research involving Indigenous peoples has been fraught with problems, including researchers not addressing Indigenous research priorities and then subsequently often failing to utilize culturally appropriate methods. Given this historical precedence, some Indigenous populations may be reluctant to participate in research projects. In response to these concerns, the Government of Canada has developed the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2): Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada, which stipulates the requirements for research collaborations with Indigenous communities. Utilizing this policy as an ethical standard for research practices, this paper describes, critiques and synthesizes the literature on culturally appropriate oral-data collection methods, excluding interviews and focus groups, for use with Indigenous people in Canada. Results suggest that photovoice, symbol-based reflection, circles and story-telling can be methodologically rigorous and culturally appropriate methods of collecting data with this population. Suggestions are made for researchers wishing to use these methods to promote respectful and collaborative research partnerships with Indigenous peoples in Canada.


Research Methodology, Qualitative Research, Data Collection Methods, Indigenous

Author Bio(s)

Amy Wright is a PhD student in the School of Nursing at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She is also a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, with a research focus on improving access to health care for Indigenous mothers and children. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: wrighal@mcmaster.ca.

Dr. Olive Wahoush is the Associate Director Newcomer Health, Community and International Outreach, in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. Her research interests include access to health care for vulnerable populations; specifically immigrant and refugee populations. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: wahousho@mcmaster.ca.

Dr. Marilyn Ballantyne is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Nursing at McMaster University, Adjunct Professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, and Chief Nurse Executive and Clinician Investigator at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Her research program addresses how infant-parent interventions and improved access to follow-up programs can achieve healthy outcomes for children at high risk of developmental delay and their families. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: MBallantyne@hollandbloorview.ca.

Dr. Chelsea Gabel is an Assistant Professor at McMaster University in the Department of Health, Aging and Society and cross-appointed with McMaster's Indigenous Studies Program. She is an emerging Indigenous scholar with a strong research and teaching background in the field of Indigenous policy; including Indigenous politics, health policy, social policy, and community-based participatory research. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: gabelc@mcmaster.ca.

Dr. Susan Jack is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, as well as an Associate Member in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics at McMaster University. She has extensive research experience in family health, vulnerable populations, and knowledge translation. She may be contacted at jacksm@mcmaster.ca.


Amy Wright would like to acknowledge Dr. Sandra Carroll, Dr. Diana Sherifali, Dr. Ruta Valaitis and Dr. Jenny Ploeg for their thoughtful feedback and support of this work.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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