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The Importance of Explicit and Timely Knowledge Exchange Practices Stemming from Research with Indigenous Families

Elizabeth J. Cooper, Canada S. Michelle Driedger

2021 Canada

Ethical research practice within community-based research involves many dimensions, including a commitment to return results to participants in a timely and accessible fashion. Often, current Indigenous community-based research is driven by a partnership model; however, dissemination of findings may not always follow this approach. As a result, products may not be as useful to participants who were motivated to be involved in the research process. We conducted a seven-week workshop on three occasions with different First Nations and Metis women and girls (age 8-12) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The workshop explored participants’ perspectives around health, safety, and family wellbeing using a strength- based, participatory approach. Participants noted that a key challenge they face when interacting with researchers, policy makers, and program staff is the lack of tailored dissemination materials. Returning results in a format that meets the expressed desire of participants is an ethical necessity to ensure that research is not perpetuating past colonial practices. Doing so quickly and with meaningful content requires careful execution and consideration, especially when working within intergenerational contexts. We describe in this paper how results were returned to families in an accessible way outlining the role that integrated knowledge exchange can play in the process of healing.

community research, ethics, knowledge dissemination, participatory research, Aboriginal, Canada