Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences pp 1525-1542 | Cite as
Culturally Safe Research with Vulnerable Populations (Māori)
Vulnerable populations are often subjected to some form of social marginalization. This contributes to persistent inequities in their social and health outcomes, and differences in their access to and use of necessary services. Researchers’ decisions and the research processes they utilize can further increase their risk of vulnerability and marginalization. Historically, Māori (indigenous peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand) experiences with research often yielded little benefit for them, instead frequently reinforcing negative stereotypes and perpetuating deficit explanations and inaccuracies. Today, many Maori remain suspicious of researchers and their agendas and are reluctant to engage in research. Yet, quality evidence and generating accurate “stories” are crucial to inform optimal strategies to resolve persistent social and health inequities. Nonetheless, evidence founded on dominant cultural research paradigms and sociocultural realities and interpretations can worsen people’s vulnerability and marginalization within social and health research contexts. Creating culturally responsive and safe spaces and research contexts with Maori, and others vulnerable within research settings, are needed to minimize participants’ vulnerability and marginalization and counter unhelpful constructions about them. In this chapter, the importance of understanding the impact differing worldviews can have on researchers, research methodology, and research conduct with vulnerable populations will be discussed. Strategies will be presented aimed at minimizing the vulnerability of those participating in or targeted for research. A framework based on the concepts of partnership, participation, protection, and power is provided to assist researchers’ cultural responsiveness, getting the research story right, and importantly, to improve the utility of their research.
KeywordsIndigenous research Cultural responsiveness Cultural safety Māori Māori-centered Kaupapa Māori research
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