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Engaging in research with Pacific communities as a non-Pacific researcher: reflecting on lessons learnt

A key challenge for the cross-cultural researcher is how to maintain authenticity in the stories of participants, paying careful attention to any inherent power imbalances. In this article, we share our respective experiences of conducting research with Pacific students and their families in Aotearoa New Zealand as non-Pacific researchers. We discuss tensions we encountered regarding power and positionality, highlighting the importance of engaging with Pacific perspectives and methodologies to help counter these tensions. In our respective studies, we aimed to promote the voices of our participants and conduct research which prioritised Pacific values. We further appreciated that we must not let our own research agenda override the needs of our participants. We explain why we believe these ideas to be so important and draw tentative conclusions on ways to engage in research with Pacific families based on what we have learnt. The data presented from our respective studies highlight our approaches and present some of the challenges, as well as our efforts to engage in reciprocal, respectful relationships with our participants and their families. We hope that, in sharing our reflections, we may offer some useful insight to other researchers embarking on a similar journey to us.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Informa UK Limited
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.