Authors: Mimmie Ngum Chi and Pranee Liamputtong
Researchers in Australia continue to carry out research with African born immigrants, predominantly those with a refugee background. Focus has been on refugee experiences, health issues and settlement prior to and after arrival in Australia. Little has been written about accessing and conducting research with African Australian migrants. This paper provides reflective discussions on how to successfully access and do research with Australians of African descent.
Methods and research participants
This qualitative study is situated within the cultural competency framework. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with African Australian teenage mothers (16) and key informants (five). A focus group was conducted with service providers/key informants who worked and provided services to African refugees/families and a second with six African mothers/key informants with a refugee background in Greater Melbourne.
There are several salient issues regarding accessing this group of migrants that emerge from our research. These include: locating participants and gaining access; cultural knowledge; trust and sensitivity to the issue(s) under study; relationships and networks; research knowledge by participants; acceptance of the researcher by the community and vice versa. Understanding of their lives and acknowledgement of previous research experiences by African descent persons and minority groups is vital for effective engagement with vulnerable participants.
We conclude that culture sensitivity, cultural awareness and knowledge, the ‘appropriate’ person, good rapport, and trust on the part of the researcher will yield positive outcomes. In addition race/ethnicity, gender, personal/shared experiences and respect of participants all contribute to positive outcomes.
Keywords: Refugee Adolescents, Migrant Women’s Health, African Australians