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Aua’i I Le Galuega: A Pasifika Research Design Ensuring Ownership and Autonomy

Camille Nakhid, John Paul Fa’alogo, Meiolandre Faiva, Daisy Halafihi, Sam Pilisi, John Senio, Sidney Taylor, Luke Thomas

2007 Aotearoa New Zealand, Pasifika

Given the current performance of Pasifika students in tertiary education, existing research methods to investigate and improve Pasifika student achievement need to be reviewed in order to enable researchers and students to engage in research that is likely to produce more successful outcomes. “Aua’i i le galuega” (direct involvement) is a research design developed by a group of Pasifika university students, and is based on an approach taken by the students to determine ways to improve their academic performance and learning outcomes. The students use the concept of the “vaka” (canoe) to represent the experiences, influences and contributing factors in their educational journey and to explain the philosophy behind the development of the design. The methodology of the aua’i i le galuega involves conversations between the students and their lecturers, facilitated by the students. The aim of the research design is to have research participants directly involved in all aspects of the research process in order to permit greater authenticity and accuracy. The aim of this paper is to propose a research design which enables the direct involvement of “minority” groups in designing, directing and carrying out their own research.