Editor-in-Chief: Jerry White, Western University
Managing Editor: Susan Wingert, Western University
Policy Commentaries Editor: Nicholas Spence, University of Alberta

Special Issue Call for Papers

Reconciling Research: Perspectives on Research Involving Indigenous Peoples

The practice of seeking out answers to questions about ourselves, others, and the world around us is common to all human cultures. But the questions we ask, who is seen as having the authority to produce answers, and what are “legitimate” ways of answering are uniquely encoded within the culture and its dominant worldview. As a result, there are fundamental differences in the way in which knowledge is constructed under Western and Indigenous paradigms. Researchers who work with Indigenous peoples or on Indigenous issues face numerous challenges in engaging with these paradigms and translating them into methodology. The outcome of these discussions, deliberations, and decisions will ultimately shape the extent to which research enlightens, particularly with respect to policy.

Western science remains the dominant way in which knowledge is produced globally. It is bolstered by an expansive infrastructure that supports it—through the training and credentialing of researchers; criteria related to hiring, promotion, and tenure; research funding; research publication and dissemination, and so forth. Researchers face tremendous pressure to produce research that meets the standards of Western science; yet, many Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers have recognized that Western science is rooted in colonialism.

At the same time, Indigenous peoples have strongly advocated that their traditional ways of knowing be recognized, particularly in research involving their people. They have argued that these approaches can decolonize research, help to preserve knowledge and culture, and address many of the inadequacies found in Western science.

There have also been movements toward the development of ethical guidelines that relate specifically to Indigenous peoples in order to protect their rights in research and to its products, given the history of exploitation.

This special issue explores issues and perspectives related to research involving Indigenous peoples. Questions include but are not limited to:

  • What are the key epistemological and methodological issues raised by research involving Indigenous peoples? How can researchers successfully address these issues in their research?
  • Can Western science and Indigenous ways of knowing be bridged? Should they be?
  • What are Indigenous methodologies and how do they add to the production of knowledge?
  • How can we work toward ending methodological discrimination in order to give Indigenous methodologies equal standing in the production of knowledge?
  • What are the dilemmas and barriers that researchers face in undertaking research involving Indigenous peoples? How do we effect meaningful change related to the culture and practice of research?
  • What are the ethical issues raised in research involving Indigenous peoples? What is needed to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples?
  • How can these epistemological, methodological, and ethical issues be incorporated into the practice of research?
  • What is needed in order to establish genuine, equal, and mutually beneficial research partnerships with Indigenous people or communities?
  • What can Indigenous peoples and communities do to safeguard their rights, their knowledge, and their ways of knowing in research?
  • How do we translate research into real world benefits for Indigenous peoples?
  • What do policy makers need from research in order to make sound policy decisions?
  • Research, policy (analysis of an issue or commentary based on the literature and/or research), and editorial submissions are welcome.

    Submissions must be made using our online submission system

    Details about preparing a manuscript can be found in our Author Guide

    The deadline for submissions is November 14, 2016

    The special issue will be published in spring 2017 (Northern Hemisphere).

Current Issue: Volume 7, Issue 4 (2016) Social Determinants of Indigenous Well-Being: Building a More Complete Understanding

Letter from the Editor




Healthy Native Community Fellowship: An Indigenous Leadership Program to Enhance Community Wellness
Rebecca Rae, Marita Jones, Alexis J. Handal, Marge Bluehorse-Anderson, Shelley Frazier, Kristine Maltrud, Chris Percy, Tina Tso, Frances Varela, and Nina Wallerstein


Jerry P. White
Managing Editor
Susan Wingert