Research protocol for the Picture Talk Project: A qualitative study on research and consent with remote Australian Aboriginal communities

Emily F.M. Fitzpatrick, Maureen Carter, June Oscar, Tom Lawford, Alexandra L.C. Martiniuk, Heather A. D'Antoine, Elizabeth J. Elliott

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    Research with Indigenous populations is not always designed with cultural sensitivity. Few publications evaluate or describe in detail seeking consent for research with Indigenous participants. When potential participants are not engaged in a culturally respectful manner, participation rates and research quality can be adversely affected. It is unethical to proceed with research without truly informed consent. Methods and analysis We describe a culturally appropriate research protocol that is invited by Aboriginal communities of the Fitzroy Valley in Western Australia. The Picture Talk Project is a research partnership with local Aboriginal leaders who are also chief investigators. We will interview Aboriginal leaders about research, community engagement and the consent process and hold focus groups with Aboriginal community members about individual consent. Cultural protocols will be applied to recruit and conduct research with participants. Transcripts will be analysed using NVivo10 qualitative software and themes synthesised to highlight the key issues raised by the community about the research process. This protocol will guide future research with the Aboriginal communities of the Fitzroy Valley and may inform the approach to research with other Indigenous communities of Australia or the world. It must be noted that no community is the same and all research requires local consultation and input. To conduct culturally sensitive research, respected local people from the community who have knowledge of cultural protocol and language are engaged to guide each step of the research process from the project design to the delivery of results. Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval was granted by the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (No. 2012/348, reference:14760), the Western Australia Country Health Service Ethics Committee (No. 2012:15), the Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee and reviewed by the Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum Research Sub-Committee (No. 2012-008). Results will be disseminated through peer review articles, a local Fitzroy Valley report and conference presentations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere018452
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalBMJ Open
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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