A Journey Toward Cultural Competence: The Role of Researcher Reflexivity in Indigenous Research

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Abstract

This article highlights the personal journey of reflective development that a non-Aboriginal White researcher and health professional underwent to be “fully positioned” in the everyday lives of a rural Australian Aboriginal community in Western Australia. The article explains the researcher’s personal development in areas important to building respect, building relationships, and ensuring reciprocity while undertaking Aboriginal research. The researcher reports on the reflective evaluation of her worldview. Understanding that judgment is a natural tendency, the researcher used reflexivity as a tool to examine and contextualize her judgments, presumptions, and preconceptions, which positioned her to be open to differing viewpoints and actively explore alternate perspectives. The researcher explores her evolutionary understanding that cultural competence is not a destination but a continual journey, and she details her knowledge development regarding the Aboriginal research paradigm, which requires that all the learning, sharing, and growth taking place is reciprocal and engages all parties actively.

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