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Article Review

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Shy-Anne Hovorka

on 25 January 2014

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Transcript of Article Review

Review form the Aboriginal Perspective
Review from the Western Perspective
Shy-Anne Hovorka Article Review: Balance in Indigenous and Western Research Frameworks
Lavallee did a great job with appropriate methodologies. She created 2 studies that pertained directly to the Indigenous framework; Sharing circles and Anishinaabe symbol reflections. Lavellee approached a recognized Elder to ensure her methodologies were appropriate and respectful from the Indigenous perspective. When doing Indigenous research, one must be careful to include Elders and community into the research for a variety of reasons such as trust, respect, being transparent in your objectives and for clarity. Minkler and Wallerstein (2003) stated that community-based research “equally involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings." Lavallee was careful and respectful in complying with these aspects when creating the two studies that were modeled after Aboriginal traditions. She called the focus groups "sharing circles". This allowed the 16 volunteer participants to feel connected as most were of Aboriginal decent.

Significance of the Article: Indigenous Perspective
The significance of the article is of high importance. Many Indigenous researchers are hoping to help clarify and change the past Western research frameworks on Indigenous people to more accurate information. Many of the studies also focus on the idea of decoloonization and "re-writing and re-righting" Indigenous histories, beliefs and traditions. (Smith, 1999). "For Indigenous people, decolonizing research isn’t about the total rejection of Western theory, research, or knowledge. It’s about changing focus, ‘centering our concerns and worldviews and coming to know and understand theory and research from our own perspectives and for our own purposes’ (Smith, 1999, 39). Slowly, through the body of research that is growing around the globe, the ideologies of the Indiginous populations is shifting for the better.
Lavallee's article is of particular importance for three reasons.
1.) It is directly related to melding the two ways knowing (Western and Indigenous) together.
2.) The studies focus on the idea of the Physical being important to the well being of an Indigenous person (in this case primarily Ojibwe)
3.) It shows that Indigenous (Aboriginal) techniques can be used to create good qualitative, ethnology research.

As stated above and according to Tracy (2010), the article would be worthy. I also believe it is timely. We are in a point in our human existance the understanding is lacking, so the timing of this/these articles is needed and ready for understanding.
Discussion/Interpretation of Ideas:
Indigenous Perspective
Here is where I think Lavallee had the bigest challenge. Although she had managed to create a framework that presented itself well to the Indigenous framework and the Western framework, she struggled with presenting the information in a way that represented the study in respectful, holistic way that honored the Aboriginal stories in a Western way of presenting the information.
She states this herself; "The most important lesson learned from my experience of working from an Indigenous research framework within the academy was how the “rules” of the academy and of research do not always allow an Indigenous research framework to flourish......I began coding the data the way I had been taught in my qualitative methods courses and past qualitative research experiences. This method fragmented the stories and reduced them to “bits of nature” (Suzuki, 2002). " (Lavallee 2009)
She tried to create themes but the stories/parts of the study could be belong to multiple themes. She realized that the holistic and intertwining views of the Indigenous people (in this case the Aboriginal Youth) did not fit into neat little pockets of information to present to an academic institution. In the end she did present it in a way that she felt fragmented the stories, but to help balance it out, she included visuals from the participants as well as created a design that represented her study. (Included later in this presentation.
Methodology: Western Perspective
While Lavallee kept her study groups in line with Aboriginal structure, she still had to maintain an expected level of academia in her set up of her research. Although she had received the permission from the Elders that her methodology and approach were appropriate, she still needed to be transparent with the ethics from the academic standpoint. She had spoken to a graduate student who had run into problems with Indigenous research; "Recently an Indigenous graduate student shared an experience with me where a faculty member discouraged her from using an Indigenous research framework because it is not seen as valid in the academy. " (Lavallee 2010, p.36). This statement shows the need to tread carefully when bridging the two paradigms.
I feel that Lavallee accomplished designing a methodology that served both the Indigenous framework and Western framework of research equally and well.

Significance of Article:
Western Perspective
This article is also significant to the Western collection of research. As you will see from a quote later presented, their are researchers in the Western paradigms that do not qualify the Indigenous Framework as valid. This shows the need for it in the Western collection of research. Both frameworks need to see that they CAN work as a unison with careful planning and respectfulness to each others agendas and procedures.
I feel too, that the actual studies can help educators of aboriginal youth have a better understanding of their students. So the significance is two-fold.
1.) Adding to the Western collection, and building bridges of understanding
2.) The content of the research helping understand the cultural aspects of the Aboriginal population.

Also, in regards to Lichtman's (2010) qualification of new insight, I feel that yes, it does offer new insight. It provides more opportunity to see the two paradigms unite effectively, and also adds to the insight of the Aboriginal youth in regards to balance and the physical being a large part of the balance. It also shows the importance of relating to youth through known traditional strategies such as the sharing circle.

Discussion/Interpretation of ideas:
Western Perspective
As with the Indigenous side of the review, here is where the article was lacking. From the Western point of view, data should be categorized, analyzed, neatly defined, easy to conceptualize from a Western, academia perspective. Lavallee attempted to accomplish this, however this led to discourse in truly presenting her findings/data. Holes were left in the data, thus she had to compromise on both sides. She did her best to present the data in themes, while adding pictures and diagrams not commonly excepted in Western research to allow for the more holistic view and presentation that would more fully represent her participants stories. However, I don't feel that this drawback outweighs the positive aspects of this particular article, in reference to Lichtman's (2010) qualities of a good ethnology research.

"Practical Application of an Indigenous Research Framework and Two Qualitative Indigenous Research Methods: Sharing Circles and Anishnaabe Symbol-Based Reflection" by Lynn F. Lavellee (2009).
In this article, Lavelle (2009) is trying to find a balance between an Indigenous Framework and a Western framework of research using qualitative research. She does this through 2 activities; sharing circles and Anishinaabe symbol-based reflection with a group of 16 volunteers of primarily Aboriginal descent in a Martial Arts school in an urban setting. She wanted to see how physical activity affects youth self-esteem based on the Aboriginal belief of balance with the physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual.

Throughout this review, I will review the significance of the article, the appropriate methodology, and the discussion/interpretation of ideas.
I will also touch on the literature review to enhance the three other sections. As iconic, Indigenous researcher Smith (1999) says, "Reading, writing, talking, these are as fundamental to academic discourse as science, theories, methods, paradigms." (p35). As I feel the first 3 sections are important to review, I feel that the literature will help tie it all together to give a cohesive understanding of Indigenous Framework of research in a Western world of research.

In regards to Lichtman's (2010) questions as to what makes good qualitative ethnology research:
-Does it provide new information and insight related to the topic?
-Is it engaging and written in a clear manner?
-Does it illustrate elements I would expect to find in an ethnography?
-Do the positive aspects of the article outweight the potential drawbacks?

Yes, it does provide new information. You will note that it provides information on drawbacks of the combined Western and Indigenous research frameworks and adds to the small, but growing collection of successful combination of these paradigms. As you go through my review, I think you will see that it is indeed very much an ethnography study as in the fact that it is dealing with an Indigenous group of people and their ways of knowing. It would be effective to point out that Lavallee herself is Indigenous, which also still qualifies under ethnology research. You will find that there were some drawbacks to the article, as stated later, however, not enough to create a bad study.
The article itself was written in a clear and engaging matter, and seemed to be a journey for Lavallee of discovery, as well as for the reader.
Appropriate Methodologies: Indigenous Perspective
Synopsis and Review




Lavallee, L. F. (2009). Practical application of an Indigenous research framework and two qualitative Indigenous research methods: Sharing
circles and Anishnaabe symbol-based reflection. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(1), 21-40.

Lichtman, M. (Ed.). (2010). Understanding and evaluating qualitative educational research. Sage.

Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Dunedin, New Zealand. University of Otago Press.

Steinhauer, E. (2002). Thoughts on an Indigenous Research Methodology. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 26(2), 69-81.

Suzuki, D. (2002). The sacred balance: Rediscovering our place in nature (2nd. ed.). Vancouver, Canada: Greystone.

Tracy, S. J. (2010). Qualitative quality: Eight “big-tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research. Qualitative inquiry, 16(10), 837-851.
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