Decolonised research ensures that Indigenous voices are present throughout all stages, from project inception to data dissemination, storing and sharing. Entering into research with Indigenous peoples means developing a meaningful relationship in which they might be both participants and owners of knowledge. Research with and about Indigenous peoples should be conceived with them, on their terms, in relation to their needs and priorities, and done in ways that enable them to be true to themselves.
Whakaoho: Project Inception
Decolonized research ensures that indigenous voices are present throughout all stages, from project inception to the dissemination, storing and sharing of data. Entering into research with indigenous peoples means developing a meaningful relationship in which they might be both participants and owners of knowledge. Research with and about indigenous peoples should be conceived with them, on their terms, in relation to their needs and priorities, and done in ways that enables them to be true to themselves.
Whakahāngai: Project Design
The design of a research project, e.g. deciding the 'right' methodology, methods and questions, how the research will be undertaken, by whom, and where, should all be undertaken with indigenous people. This helps ensure that research is done in ways sympathetic to indigenous peoples' day-to-day lives. Working with indigenous peoples on the design of the project also helps ensure that the goals and outputs are defined in relation to indigenous needs.
KohiKohi: Data Gathering
The gathering of data, if not undertaken in culturally appropriate ways, can be invasive, extractive and outright damaging to communities. Being culturally appropriate means being informed about tikanga (cultural protocols) and how Indigenous communities conceptualise, share and store data. At the very least your team should be informed on Māori approaches to data governance and sovereignty.
Tātaitanga: Data Analysis
The analysis of data through an indigenous lens is just as, if not more important, than the research activities. This is because indigenous and non-indigenous peoples might come to very different conclusions about the same data. In the past, scientists saw research as something 'objective' that led us towards a universal truth. Now we understand that researchers inevitably apply a particular lens to research. This lens is influenced by many things, including the researcher's culture, language, and lived experiences.
Raraunga: Data Research Storage & Dissemination
How and where research is stored is of particular significance to indigenous peoples. This is because we have specific ways of organising, arranging and separating objects and data. For example, in Māori culture, knowledge might be organised and separated in relation to concepts such as tapu (sacred) and noa (profane). These concepts dictate how physical objects and immaterial forms of knowledge can be stored and shared.
Tūhonotanga: Maintaining Research Relationships
For many researchers engagement with research participants ends when the project does. However, for some indigenous peoples maintaining a connection to research about them and to the researchers who undertook it is very important. Indigenous expectations about what good relationships mean and how that might play out differ from project to project. So researchers need to carefully design research with their specific groups in mind.