Masters graduate works with KORI to produce a First Nation research protocol

Aliya Pardhan, a University of Guelph Masters of Science graduate completed the defense of her thesis this past summer. Her thesis, "EXPLORING KEY STAKEHOLDER PERSPECTIVES FOR A COLLABORATIVE FIRST NATION RESEARCH PROTOCOL", is an important publication for anyone interested in working with First Nations in the delivery of health and other services.

Dr. Ricardo Ramirez was her Academic Advisor at the University of Guelph for this work. Aliya visited Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout and Fort Severn to complete the research portion of her thesis, working with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak team and Fort Severn leadership and community members.

From the abstract ....

This thesis proposes a set of recommendations to assist the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Research Institute (KORI) in developing codes of conduct of research with the First Nation. 

It places the discussion of research ethics in the context of cultural world view and the struggle for self-determination as peoples and nations. 

It affirms that the First Nation Peoples have a right to participate as partners in research that generates knowledge affecting their culture, identity and well-being.

To provide the context and rational for the recommendations presented, the thesis outlines how ethics are framed in the First Nation with respect to research design, informed consent, entry into the field, confidentiality, approaches to data collection, participant roles, ownership of data and dissemination of results.

The thesis also describes how First Nation perceptions of reality and ethical behavior contrast with the norms prevailing in western research.  The perspective of community ethics suggests that representation of multiple voices, enhancement of moral discernment, building capacity, empowerment, and self-advocacy need to be critical components of research. 

This study emphasizes that the research process needs to be reciprocal and collaborative, with communities, researchers, research organizations, academic institutions, research councils and funding agencies working together to shape the conception, definition and direction of research in the North.

Click here to read the entire 201 page thesis (918K, PDF document)

Concerning her future adventures, Aliya writes ... "I actually did get accepted into a PhD program here at Guelph in epidemiology/population medicine. I do intend to build on my thesis with more of a health/infectious disease perspective. My research is being funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada."

Keewaytinook Okimakanak congratulates Aliya on her successes and looks forward to working with her on her doctoral research.