Literature indicates that recruitment to research in Aboriginal populations requires an entirely different approach. Yarning, language and concepts of time, community involvement, gaining trust and mutual respect form the basis of recruitment strategies. This study is investigating falls in elderly Aboriginals from the Tamworth area in NSW, exploring risks, what happened and the impact of fall(s) on their life.
Following ethics approval, recruitment involving on-going consultation processes has proved essential for maintaining cultural awareness, sensitivity and project support. Semi-structured in-depth interviews are being undertaken with 6 to 10 Aboriginal volunteers between the ages 50 to 65 years who have experienced a fall in the past year. Interviews are audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using qualitative research techniques.
Common themes have emerged in the recruitment phase. Discussions between researchers and participants have highlighted cultural differences of the importance of the research in the "big picture" - "culture and family" versus "time is money". This difference has impacted on participant recruitment. The importance of cultural awareness, understanding and respect is critical during the liaison and negotiation process, remaining on-going throughout the project.
Consultation processes encourage understanding of issues related to qualitative research involving Aboriginals. The information gained from the study about falls in elderly Aboriginal people will assist in the development of culturally appropriate assessment tools, timing and types of educative and preventative intervention. It will add a further dimension to improving the health and quality of life for elderly Aboriginals.
Research and evaluation methodology
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Coates J, Smith T. (2010). Recruitment of Elderly Aboriginal Australians for a Qualitative Study of Falls Risks, Experiences and Outcomes. In: 2010 Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts. Primary Health Care Research and Information Service, Australia. phcris.org.au/conference/abstract/6883