Presentation on theme: "‘Yarning About Different Types of Yarning in the Doing of Indigenous Research’ This presentation is based on a discussion that I had over a number of months."— Presentation transcript:
1‘Yarning About Different Types of Yarning in the Doing of Indigenous Research’ This presentation is based on a discussion that I had over a number of months with a Phd colleague, Dr Bridget Ngandu from Botswana and is the outcome of a joint paper which Dr Ngandu and I have written but now want to get published.In this presentation I will talk about the use of conversation or yarning as a data gathering tool in our research with Indigenous people.4th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry CBG Conference 12th May 2008A/P Dawn Bessarab
2About Me Bardi Injardbandi Currently living in Perth Team Investigator on Indigenous Capacity Building Grant (TICHR)Millstream
3Yarning About Different Types of Yarning in the Doing of Indigenous Research Yarning - a word that is frequently used by the Noongar people of the Southwest and generally means to converse or have a conversation or a talk. When an Aboriginal person says ‘lets sit down and have a yarn’ what they are saying is; lets have a talk or conversation.In Botswana the language that is spoken is Setswana. In Setswana the phrase “A re bue” means ‘to talk’. When a Motswana says, “tla re bue sanye” they mean ‘come and lets talk’.
4Use of Conversation as a research tool. Matches Indigenous cultural processEnables the telling of storiesAccording to Kvale:Conversation is a basic mode of humaninteraction. Human beings talk with eachother they interact, pose questions, andanswer questions. Through conversations weget to know other people, get to learn about theirexperiences, feelings, and hopes and theworld they live in (1996a).Why use Yarning it:
5Yarning About Different Types of Yarning in the Doing of Indigenous Research Through conversations we canLearn about people’s experiences,feelings, thoughts and hopes.There are different types of conversationthat people can have.Conversations can be social,artistic, political, professional,religious, therapeutic orresearch focused.Kvale (1996b) discussing the use of conversation in doing research uses the metaphor of the traveller when talking about how an interviewer conducts an interview. He sees the interviewer or in this case the researcher as a traveller who embarks on a journey and who upon returning home has a number of tales or stories to tell about what he/she saw and experienced.There are many different types of conversation that people can have.Depending on the genre of the conversation, there are different rules, techniques and purposes for carrying out and maintaining the discussion.In this presentation I will refer to three different types of conversation/yarning that emerged in our research projects which Bridget and I identified as; social yarning, research yarning and collaborative yarning:
6Interview transcripts identified four types of yarning occurring: Yarning About Different Types of Yarning in the Doing of Indigenous ResearchInterview transcripts identified four types of yarning occurring:Social yarningResearch yarningCollaborative yarningTherapeutic yarningLooking at my transcripts realised that there was a process to the conversation which had a beginning, a middle and an end.In my collaborative yarns with Bridget we realised that we were engaged in three different types of yarning during the process of our research.
7Social YarningConversation/yarning that is unstructured, which follows a meandering course that is guided by the topic that both people choose to introduce into the content of their conversation/yarn. Can include gossip, news, humour, advice and whatever information both parties feel inclined to share in the moment.Indicated the commencement of the engagement process between me (researcher/interviewer) and the participant (Interviewee).Involved a getting to know you conversation which centered around how people were doing, what was going on in their life and sharing news etc.We also realised that generally social yarning was not something that we recorded, it usually took place before the research yarn started.The following extract refers to the conversation that occurred before the interview.
8Social YarningD: Hi John how you going? Good to see you, how you been?J: Good, what about yourself, come inside.D: Thanks, I’ve been pretty busy you know, what with my research and all.J: Oh! Would you like a cuppa?D: Oh! Only if you are having one. Yep, white no sugar.J: Where did you say you were from? (preparing the tea).D: Ok, I’m from Broome you know, my mob are Bardi mob from up the Peninsula. My family name is D and I’m related to the H,T,A,S,A’s on my dad’s side. My mum she is from the Pilbara and she is Indjarbadi … You know any of them? Thanks (handed the cup of tea).J: Oh!, what you to KH?D: Oh!, he’s my cousin, you know blackfella way he is my cousin brother, his mom is my mom’s sister.In this extract you will note that the conversation begins with my question about John’s wellbeing, he invites me inside and then ask if I want a cup of tea. I say yes and then he asks a question to confirm where I am from. This question could be interpreted a number of ways, ie. I am from Curtin. But what John is really asking is where I am I from as an Aboriginal person. You will note that I then launch into an Aboriginal introduction outlining my language group affiliations and family names. John then links one of the names to a person that he knows and asks me what my relationship is to KH. I tell him he then places me within the Aboriginal network and goes on to ask me what I wanted to talked to him about. Not all social conversations were around this topic, but varied from asking about their children to commenting on their garden or whatever activity was taking place in their life at that moment.
9Social YarningB: Dumela mma? Ke kopa gobona Mma Thabiso. ( How are you Madam? May I please see Mrs Thabiso?).MT: Dumela. Eehe, ke na.. Tsenang. (Good morning Madam. I am Mrs Thabiso. Come in). I didn’t know that you could speak Setswana. Come on in. Where did you learn Setswana from? Are you married to a Mostwana?B: Oh, no! (I laugh). I lived here in Botswana for nearly 10 years before going to Australia. My parents work here as teachers and live in Moshupa.MT: Oh, that explains the Moshupa connection.I was worried that I will have to be perfect with my English. You know how you people are with research. Everything should be perfect to meet youB: No please don’t worry about being perfect. This is a conversation, and it is not about rights or wrongs. Besides we will be exploring together.In the above extract, Bridget opened the conversation by code-switching to a greeting in Setswana as a way of using social yarning to break the ice. The use of Setswana as a tool for establishing rapport was very helpful because it enabled her to develop a relationship within a limited time frame. Ely etal (1991:61) refers to this as the notion of ‘judicial entering’, letting the interviewee know that ‘you have been there’. While judicial entering in its real essence refers to the researcher being able to sympathize with the participants, Bridget used judicial entering to show that there was something that as the researcher she had in common with Mma Thabiso the participant. In this sense they could both speak Setswana.
10Research YarningConversation/yarn that is structured around a research interview with the sole purpose of gathering information through the stories that people tell that are related to the research topic. Conversation/yarn of this type is directive and purposeful with a defined beginning and end point.To address Feldman’s concern that people may not acknowledge the conversation as research, Bridget and I both realised in our collaborative yarning sessions that we tended to signal the end of the social yarning by announcing that we were about to begin the research yarn.Lincoln and Guba suggest that an interview is a conversation with a purpose. ‘The purpose for doing an interview include among others, obtaining here-and-now constructions of persons, events, activities, organisations, feelings, motivations, claims, concerns’ (1985:268).
11Research YarningD: I’d like to thank you for agreeing to talk to me today, it’s Wednesday 19th June. What I’d like to start with is just asking you what sort of experiences you had growing up in your family as girl? Tell me your story, what was it like being a girl in your family?A: I don’t know, we grew up close in the family, very strict, yeah!In the above extract I signal the commencement of the research yarn to let the participant know that I am now beginning the research conversation. A responded by telling me her family was close and very strict. As a researcher looking at gender I had to choose which direction I would steer this conversation with Angie.
12Research YarningB: If we could start by you telling me your thoughts about the Botswana AIDS policy, how inclusive was it in the beginning?T: I would not say it was inclusive, if you are saying … talking about how it was formulated or from it’s inception. What they did was that they had a workshop and they invited what they called stakeholders … but then it depends on how many stakeholders you have in HIV/AIDS.In this extract Bridge signals to Tebogo the end of the social yarn by switching to the research question.
13Collaborative yarning Conversation which is centered around sharing information around a similar topic. In this case, the collaborative yarning was about the use of conversation in research. In sharing and talking through similar ideas and bouncing different ideas, collaborative yarning enables a shift in thinking, confirmation of what is known and discovery of new concepts/ideas.Bridge and I in our collaborative discussions discovered that in sharing some of our findings, we had comparable experiences through using conversation as a tool. This helped to clarify what we were doing and often revealed tacit knowledge that was operating in the research that was
14Therapeutic YarningOccurs during the research conversation where the participant in telling their story relays information that is traumatic or intensely personal and emotional. The researcher switches from asking questions to listening and as the listener can either assist the participant to make sense of their story or affirms their story. In doing so the meaning making emerging in the yarn can often support the participant to re-think their understanding of their experience in new and different ways
15Therapeutic YarningT: As I’ve said before that’s one of my greatest heartaches … my greatest shame is that I did hit my partner.D: Did you see anyone when you were growing up hit their partner?T: Yeah, my father was quite aggressive towards my mother at times … I do, remember um, aah, I can’t remember dad hitting her, but I know it did occur … Oh! another time I remember, I was going outside chopping wood, till I wanted to chop him up. For, because he was, they were having a fight inside the house.After this response I tried to steer the conversation back onto a research course, but T was in a very emotional state about his DV admission and obviously wanted to talk about it, so I took the conversation back to the DV and allowed him to continue his conversation. We talked for some time about his DV experience, with me listening and occasionally asking a clarifying question. During this conversation the research conversation was suspended and could not proceed until T felt comfortable enough to re-engage and the conversation moved onto the research topic.Often in these moments it was as if in allowing the participant to talk, the conversation wound down to a comfortable space where both the participant and we as researchers could re-engage at the research level and continue the research yarn.
16Therapeutic YarningB: How big is the issue of stigmatization for peoplewho are HIV positive?N: It is very big. And it is strange because people like you and me, the kind of people you would expect to be educated, they still stigmatize people who have HIV/AIDS. When somebody is sick in the work place, they all seem like, they are supportive, but you can see that some things are just like mockery.B: At this point, I realized that N had a personal story totell, so I let her continue.N: There is one woman, she works in our registry. The other day I was talking to someone and this person is also supposed to be one of the peer educators, but the way she was talking even irritated me. She was saying ‘you know I don’t want to sit near her, and I hate it because this young woman just takes everybody’s cup’. You expect this person who has trained as a peer educator to be different.Bridget said that she as talked to N about stigmatization it became apparent that N was finding it difficult about how the young woman that had referred to was being treated. After allowing N to just talk about her concerns, N appeared relieved at being able to talk about her concerns and Bridget was able to continue with the research conversation.
17The Usefulness of Different Types of Yarning in the Doing of Indigenous Research Social yarning - is particularly useful for developing rapport and trust in the research relationship.Research yarning – is purpose driven and is focused on gathering information relating to the research topic.Collaborative yarning - is extremely useful in sharing information and ideas with colleagues about the research project and can lead to transformation and new meanings for everyone involved.Therapeutic yarning – is useful when the participant discloses a traumatic or emotional experience or starts to talk about a difficult issue that is creating problems for them. The RY is suspended until the TY is allowed to unfold. Once the participant has had the opportunity to voice their concern, the researcher is then able to return to the research yarn.
18Issues emerging in the Doing of Indigenous Research AssumptionsLanguageGender PositioningIn Bridget’s extract of her conversation the participant had particular assumptions about her as a researcher. Mma Thabiso thought that she would have to use ‘perfect English’ to speak with Bridget and was relieved when she was told that this was not necessary because it was about sharing. This highlighted for both Bridget and I that participants similar to researchers can participate in interviews with their own sets of assumption and expectations and we need to be mindful of this.Language - During the process of interviewing, we learnt that the nature and type of questions asked impacted on the responses obtained. Clarity of questions and the ability to pick up points being raised for follow-ups was a valuable lesson. In some of our interviews we found ourselves looking for certain key words in the participant’s answers that we felt were pertinent to our research. If the key words were not forthcoming, this resulted in us as researchers sometimes interrupting and re-directing the conversation back to the research topic. Re-reading our interview transcriptions we discovered that by doing this we had cut across data that was highly pertinent to the topic but was being discussed and expressed in non-academic language.Positioning - the research process is a political one and brings challenging experiences for the researcher. Dawn and I were conscious of our gender identity and the role it played in the interviewing process. The cultural context we were entering sometimes influenced how we were perceived, in my (Bridget’s) case as a young, Indigenous, female researcher. In (Dawn’s) case when interviewing older males, Dawn was very conscious at times of her position as a woman interviewing Aboriginal males, particularly when one participant chose to speak about personal issues such as sexuality. These issues did not become apparent until after transcribing the interviews and we had both engaged in meaning-making, Dawn and I realized that the language used by some male participants in the research had a strong gender bias that impacted on the way in which we responded to their messages in the interview.
19Gender Positioning in the Doing of Indigenous Research R: So, what would you like to know? Tell me what this big project is all about?B: I am conducting research on the HIV/AIDS policy in Botswana……………………………………….C: Oh, I guess, I want to tell you my first sexual encounter because I (burst out laughing) might incriminate myself.D: (Laughs) Okay then … but just going back to like your mum and your dad, did your mum have expectations with you as a young boy in the family or as a young man growing up?Positioning - the research process is a political one and brings challenging experiences for the researcher. Bridget and I were conscious of our gender identity and the role it played in the interviewing process. The cultural context we were entering sometimes influenced how we were perceived, in my case when interviewing older males, (Bridget’s) case as a young, Indigenous, female researcher. I was very conscious at times of my position as a woman interviewing Aboriginal males, particularly when one participant chose to speak about personal issues such as sexuality. These issues did not become apparent until after transcribing the interviews and we had both engaged in meaning-making, Bridget and I realized that the language used by some male participants in the research had a strong gender bias that impacted on the way in which we responded to their messages in the interview.Impact - Conversation/yarning in research interviewing is a process that allows for a relaxed and informal method of gathering data. It is a natural process that in our situation was comfortable and suited the Indigenous participants from Botswana, Perth and Broome. Conversations are not fixed, they are constantly negotiated between the researcher and participant in the process of finding and making meaning of the research topic. In both our experiences we have found that while conversation can be a useful tool for the collection of stories, the quality of the conversation can also be affected by the relationship between the researcher and participant, the language being used and the conceptual baggage of the researcher. In closing Bridget and I believe that any considerations of applying conversation as research gathering tool needs to be mindful of the strengths and weakness that this approach brings to the interview process.
20Facilitates in-depth discussions in a relaxed and open manner. Strengths in applying Conversation/Yarning as a Research Tool in the Doing of Indigenous ResearchFacilitates in-depth discussions in a relaxed and open manner.Provides a rich source of thick description.Is a culturally safe process for Indigenous participantsAllows the use of narrative in relaying information.Transferable across disciplines
21Yarning About Different Types of Yarning in the Doing of Indigenous Research Any questions