What stories to tell: A trilogy of methods used for knowledge exchangein a community-based participatory research project

Fraser, S. (2017)

Journal of Action Research

16(2) | 207-222

Researchers in the field of Aboriginal health generally have a keen interest in ‘participating in change’ to address the ongoing injustices experienced by Aboriginal peoples. Perhaps the most promoted methods for this purpose are those described as Indigenous methods and action research. Criteria of authenticity are generally used to assess the quality of research. In this essay, we reflect on how certain basic principles of action research, more notably ontological authenticity and educative authenticity can penetrate the process of knowledge exchange, creating spaces of ontological contamination and transformation. We reflect on the context of sharing ‘difficult knowledge’, knowledge that is encountered and shared in a post-colonial context of unequal power dynamics. We describe a trilogy of methods used for such knowledge exchange activities with three distinct audiences, and distinct goals. A commonality amongst the three described methods is the ‘unfinished’ and unorganised nature of what is transmitted, requiring the receptor to actively participate in the differentiation and reorganisation of information in a way that makes sense to him/her.