Walking together to create harmony in research: A Murri woman’s approach to Indigenous research methodology

Julieann Coombes (Department of Injury, The George Institute for Global Health, Camperdown, Australia)
Courtney Ryder (Department of Injury, The George Institute for Global Health, Camperdown, Australia) (Department of Society and Equity, Southgate Institute for Health, Adelaide, Australia)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Publication date: 30 July 2019



One’s standpoint and consequent research paradigm impacts how we conduct research, including study design, analyses interpretation and dissemination of results. In 2017, the authors began PhD, studying the potential barriers to aftercare treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged under 16 who had sustained a burn injury in one of five major hospitals in Australia. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


As Aboriginal PhD students, the authors are conducting research using Aboriginal ontology as a framework, which is based on a holistic framework with interconnectedness, person-centred care and Aboriginal ways of knowing as the foundation. The framework has been shaped by the first author’s knowing, being and doing, and the authors’ worldview has informed and shaped the standpoint and the way the research has been developed and conducted.


It was important for the authors to have a connectedness to each aspect of the research and to each individual person that shared their story: this was paramount to the ways of being.


This connectedness stems from growing up on the authors’ country and learning from elders, from the connection to all entities living around, within and with the authors. The Indigenous research methodology was used throughout the study, including yarning and Dadirri, a way of deep listening and learning, as the basis for interviewing.



This body of work is funded through an NHMRC Project Grant [APP1059038]. Ms Coombes is supported by a postgraduate research scholarship through [University of Technology Sydney through a Jumbunna Scholarship]; Mrs Ryder is supported by an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship; Dr Hunter is supported by an NSW Health Early Mid-Career Fellowship; and Professor Ivers by an NHMRC Research Fellowship. This study is guided by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Committee. Julieann Coombes acknowledges the support of PhD supervisors Rebecca Ivers, Elizabeth Sullivan, Tamara Mackean and Kate Hunter and their guidance while writing this paper, and also the families who gave their time and told the authors of personal journeys to healing.


Coombes, J. and Ryder, C. (2019), "Walking together to create harmony in research: A Murri woman’s approach to Indigenous research methodology", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 58-67. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-07-2018-1657

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