Finding and accessing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research online can be a challenge
That same challenge impacts policy makers, researchers, Indigenous community organisations and Indigenous community members alike.
Extensive online searches are often required, and it can be hard to access and use relevant research produced by academic institutions and government agencies.
For policy makers that evaluate and develop programs to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, there isn‘t a central repository for the extensive research and data produced across different government agencies and research groups.
For researchers and community organisations, their projects can be shaped by similar research projects and frameworks by their peers. Accessing what’s been done by others can provide a important foundation, reducing re-work, improving knowledge sharing, and, ultimately, improving community outcomes.
What we’ve learnt is that finding and accessing this research can be just as challenging for researchers and Indigenous community organisations as it is for policy makers. For community members, these challenges can be heightened by not being able to access research findings about their own community.
For a community to have participated in a research project but then have not been given access or ownership of the research or data afterwards isn’t unusual. And when community members are able to access this information, it’s most likely to be categorised and presented in ways that reflect western, colonial knowledge systems.
For community, knowledge systems are about storytelling and connections – all of which starts and ends with Country. Consider the following quote from Songlines (2020):