First Nations Community Well-Being Research and Large Data Sets: A Respectful Caution
Health researchers are increasingly encouraged to use large, community-level data sets to examine factors that promote or diminish health, including social determinants. First Nations people in Canada experience disparity in a range of social determinants of health that result in relatively low community well-being scores, when compared to non-First Nations people. However, First Nations people also possess unique protective factors that enhance well-being, such as traditional language usage. Large data sets offer First Nations a new avenue for advocating for supports and services to decrease health inequity while developing culture-based evidence. However, care must be taken to ensure that these data are interpreted appropriately. In this paper, we respectfully offer a cautionary note on the importance of understanding culture and context when conducting First Nations health research with large data sets. We have framed this caution through a narrative presentation of a simple and concrete example. We then outline some approaches to research that can ensure appropriate development of research questions and interpretation of research findings.
Copyright (c) 2017 Alexandra S. Drawson, Aislin R. Mushquash, Christopher J. Mushquash
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