Research involves groupings of people in a collaborative exercise. The soundness of trust among its stakeholders is essential to a successful and ethical outcome. Trust has to function at all levels of the research enterprise – between participant and researcher, between research partners and sponsors, between researchers, institutions and the scientific community and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, with the wider community. Where trust persists, research can be sustained.[i]
All Indigenous communities deserve the right of access to research paradigms that are grounded in cultural competency and respect, and founded on mutual trust and ethical integrity. In practice, however, research conducted in Indigenous communities is, more often than not, seen as problematic and lacking. On the one side, research investigations are typically conducted by researchers whose values and perceptions are formed outside of the boundaries of the worldview of Indigenous people and community. On the other side, Indigenous communities remain suspicious and mistrustful of the ‘enterprise of research’, as stories are told about following ‘white way’ but not ‘right way’; of loss of ownership over community-shared experiences; of not hearing back on ‘our stories’; of being positioned outside of, and excluded from, decisions that determine and define the future life of the community; of the promise of reward, and the receipt of trinkets.
That’s where ResearchCrowd comes in.
Established in 2014 by four Indigenous sisters, ResearchCrowd is a small enterprise with a big vision! ResearchCrowd specialises in quantitative and qualitative Indigenous research, and offers a suite of research-related services (such as, evaluations, conferences, consulting, and more).
“ResearchCrowd is working to close the gap on understanding and inclusion between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians for the benefit of all Australians. We set up the business because we wanted to be involved in research that is responsive, respectful and rewarding for our people”, said Dr Catherine Demosthenous, Founder and Principal of ResearchCrowd.
Catherine, a respected academic, author and researcher, went on to say, “We wanted to change the way our mob think about research, and we wnted to change the way mainstream research is done. We wanted to engage in research that is culturally solid and ethically solid, and embraced by Indigenous people/communities. Research is so important. It’s the foundation of policies, programs and practices. It is translated into decisions and developments that impact every part of our lives. Research changes lives. And, I guess the bottom line for us is, we are working hard to build the evidence-bases needed to craft new and practical solutions to the complex social problems that challenge Indigenous people in contemporary Australia, and are doing this in culturally respectful and reverent ways.”