Qualitative methods

When developing and implementing research using qualitative methods, similar considerations apply when considering responsiveness to Māori as for quantitative research.

Qualitative research should inform policy and practice equally for Māori as for non-Māori, and contribute to reducing health inequities. Issues of risk or harm versus benefit, participation and engagement in the research, consent and equity are all relevant.

Key issues to consider when planning your research and developing your framework for analysis could include:

  • What “world view” does your framework of analysis represent? Is your conceptual framework equally appropriate for Māori? Are Māori at the centre or at the margin of your enquiry?
  • Your theoretical perspective is likely to shape your analysis (for example, different understandings might result from whether a sociological, kaupapa Māori, action research or other frame is used …)
  • Be aware of your own conceptual views and possibility of researcher bias, e.g. be careful to avoid “deficit model” thinking - or “romantic framing” of results.
  • Be careful about your ability to generalise or draw conclusions about all Māori from your results.

Other issues to consider are:

  • Consent
    Most researchers are familiar with procedures with obtaining individual consent. Te Ara Tika identifies that at times individual written consent may not be sufficient. For a further discussion of collective consent, see the discussion paragraph (Pages 15 - 17) on "informed consent" in the Te Ara Tika document.
  • Consultation
    You need to consider: Why do it, for what purpose, with whom, how and allow time...
  • Consultation with Māori is a minimal obligation under the Treaty of Waitangi, and an expectation of the University under its delegated Crown responsibilities. The level and depth of this will vary according to the type of research project.
  • Consultation may improve your research project and draw your attention to key Māori stakeholders.
  • Think about the need for consultation with Māori EARLY in research design.
  • Relationships with Māori stakeholders will be on a continuum, from simple provision of information and dissemination of research findings, to a deeper relationship based on partnership.
  • A number of researchers will already have Māori individuals and/or groups involved in their project. However consultation with the Office of the Tumuaki is still a requirement. For researchers without Māori involvement, key Māori stakeholders may be recommended. Te Ara Tika also provides some support.
  • Consultation by definition includes a feedback loop. It is essential that you provide a brief summary of your research findings to the Office of the Tumuaki and Māori stakeholders as part of your dissemination process. Additional processes may be suggested.