In 2008 the Larrakia Nation established an in-house research division to provide evidence-based knowledge about our client group, on issues of Larrakia concern and to encourage the development of skilled Aboriginal researchers. Our underlying philosophy is about facilitating Aboriginal generation and ownership of knowledge pertinent to assisting to achieve social inclusion. We also work to encourage a culture of critical thinking with the Larrakia Nation.

The Larrakia Nation has secured funds to undertake two separate research projects.

Please see project briefs below:

Study outline: Notions of ‘work’ at two Urban Aboriginal Communities
This small-scale study aims to develop a deeper understanding of the contemporary barriers and enablers for residents of the Bagot and Minmirama Communities, Darwin, to engage in the market economy.  Informed by grounded theory, whereby theory is ‘grounded’ in the data collected from the field, this study will use ethnographic modes of inquiry to explore community members’:
notions of work,
o  attitudes to work,
o  work experiences,
o  work aspirations,
o  perceptions of work opportunities (within and beyond the community),
o  conditions/facilities which create barriers or which are enablers for work; and
o  positive and negative implications for children and family if engaged in work.

Data will be analysed and theoretical propositions will be made.  The propositions will then determine the most relevant literature in which to examine, contextualise and discuss the findings, i.e. the data speaks and generates theory.  By using ethnographic modes of inquiry, this study will privilege the voices of this population in a sensitive and unobtrusive manner.  At the same time and where culturally appropriate, we will engage community members in a research capacity by providing basic training and support to be active participants in the study.
Key activities
Recruit community researchers
Train and identify strengths of community researchers
Collaboratively develop methods of inquiry
Allocate responsibilities across the team (based on individuals strengths and comfort zone)
Collect data
Analyse data
Verify data
Generate propositions
Undertake literature review
Write up report
Present findings to the community
Send final report to funding agency

I expect that this project, from start to finish, should take 6 to 8 weeks, preferably less.

Study: Aboriginal perspectives towards mainstream community and their institutions

This project is somewhat larger and is effectively Phase Three of a detailed study which, during Phases 1 and 2 has explored:
o The unintended consequences of the Federal Intervention into NT’s Indigenous Communities
The incidence of ongoing displacement of Aboriginal Territorians from their communities of origin;
The incidence of trauma and trauma-related illness, through administering the Australian Aboriginal version of the Harvard Trauma Instrument;
Non-Aboriginal attitudes to Aboriginal homelessness.

The 3rd phase of this study seeks to explore Aboriginal attitudes towards the non-Aboriginal community population, the dominant structures and institutions underpinning mainstream community life and values. A key part of this study will focus on the Justice system but we also seek to explore participants understanding of, and attitudes towards, the Westminster political system, organized religion and economic systems.
Further, we also seek to determine attitudes within the Aboriginal community towards different “sectors” of the community, e.g. remote dwellers towards urbanized peoples, etc.

The guiding motivation behind undertaking such research is to better frame relevant service-level responses from an evidence base. Using a multi-method approach and action research philosophy, the questions will be explored through a semi-structured questionnaire administered face-to-face. If necessary and possible, we would seek to undertake the research in the first languages of the participants.

Training and/or utilizing Aboriginal researchers in the study is a crucial element of this project, including in the analysis and writing up phases.

For more detailed information and copies of the aformentioned research reports done to date, please contact Ilana Eldridge, CEO of the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation, via email: or by telephone: 61 8 89483 733.

Ilana Eldridge
Chief Executive Officer
Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation

2nd February 2010