Indigenous Innovations in Qualitative Research Method: Investigating the Private World of Family Life

  • Huia Tomlins Jahnke Massey University
  • Gillies Annemarie Massey University


The researched are rarely provided the opportunity to take a role in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data they themselves provide to researchers. This article describes a novel indigenous research method, for a project in progress, which was developed to explore the relationships between intra-whānau (family) communication and whānau ora (family well-being) within eight whānau over a three year period. The relationships are explored through self-reflexive praxis where research participants are encouraged to think reflexively about their whānau conversations. Conversations that take place in the private world of whānau are audio-recorded by family members, without the imposition of an intrusive researcher. Whānau decide the extent to which their private lives are exposed to the researchers via the recordings and assist the researchers with an interpretation of their everyday conversations. This method offers an opportunity for both whānau and researchers to contribute to insights and understandings of the complex ecologies and realities of life for Māori families. This research methodology involves culturally-centred ethical practice drawn from both Western- and Māori-centred perspectives. Sensitive issues arising from the ways in which individuals perceived their role as active agents of research and the effects of self-reflection on the method are explored.

Author Biographies

Huia Tomlins Jahnke, Massey University
Associate Professor and Head of Maori Education
Gillies Annemarie, Massey University
Director Te Au Rangahau Maori Business Research Centre College of Business