Traditional storytelling: an effective Indigenous research methodology and its implications for environmental research
Using traditional Western research methods to explore Indigenous perspectives has often been felt by the Indigenous people themselves to be inappropriate and ineffective in gathering information and promoting discussion. On the contrary, using traditional storytelling as a research method links Indigenous worldviews, shaping the approach of the research; the theoretical and conceptual frameworks; and the epistemology, methodology, and ethics.
The aims of this article are to
(a) explore the essential elements and the value of traditional storytelling for culturally appropriate Indigenous research;
(b) develop a model of a collaborative community and university research alliance, looking at how to address community concerns and gather data that will inform decision-making and help the community prepare for the future;
(c) build up and strengthen research capacity among Indigenous communities in collaboration with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge-holders; and
(d) discuss how to more fully engage Indigenous people in the research process. In two case studies with Indigenous and immigrant communities in Canada and Bangladesh that are grounded in the relational ways of participatory action research, the author found that traditional storytelling as a research method could lead to culturally appropriate research, build trust between participants and researcher, build a bridge between Western and Indigenous research, and deconstruct meanings of research.
The article should end with a discussion of the implications of using traditional storytelling in empowering both research participants and researcher.
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