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Aajiiqatigiingniq: An Inuit Consensus Methodology in Qualitative Health Research

Priscilla Ferrazzi, Shirley Tagalik, Peter Christie, Joe Karetak, Kukik Baker, Louis Angalik

2019 Canada

Indigenous knowledge and approaches to health research have historically been marginalized by Western traditions. Efforts to overcome this marginalization by recognizing Indigenous methodologies as a distinctive form of inquiry are gathering momentum. Health research that seeks to establish levels of agreement about disputed or conceptually unclear subjects frequently relies on consensus methods. Aajiiqatigiingniq is a principle of cultural knowledge and a consensus decision-making approach among Inuit in the Canadian Arctic. We used group meetings and individual interviews involving Inuit elders and other senior community members in Arviat, Nunavut, to explore and describe aajiiqatigiingniq as an appropriate and ethical methodology in qualitative health research. Findings reveal a systematic but apparently informal approach focused on sustained individual and community well-being. Consensus is achieved through the successive addition of group members, respectful communication, mainly narrative discourse, subjective personal engagement, and an unhurried meeting style. While previous research has used Western consensus methods to embed Inuit knowledge in health research, this study provides a first descriptive account of a wholly Inuit consensus methodology.

discourse analysis, community-based research, ethical inquiry, focus groups, oral histories, methods in qualitative inquiry