Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association

Implications of participation and equality in the research process for health promotion practice: domestic violence as an example

Colleen Fisher

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 22(2) 119 - 123
Published: 2011


Issue Addressed: Contemporary health promotion is underpinned by a philosophy of participation and working with communities to build strength and capacity. This article adds to literature, describing how this is operationalised in health promotion research. Methods: The operationalisation of participation and equality in a participatory action research (PAR) project examining domestic violence in five communities from an African refugee background, post settlement in Perth (Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan) is described. The qualitative research undertaken included 78 participants: 54 from the five communities and 24 from health and support agency staff who provide services to them and utilised in-depth interviews and focus groups. Results: Ongoing participation by community members and equality within stakeholder relationships was facilitated by the project being community-initiated, the crystallisation of strong stakeholder relationships, data collection by trained bicultural, bilingual interviewers from the five communities, and ongoing involvement of the communities through data analysis and report-writing phases. Conclusions: All stakeholders are able to learn from the perspectives and knowledge of others. Equality can supplant a subject-object relationship typical of much research and evident in some practice, with a subject-subject relationship. It can also transpose community members from the margins to the centre of research and practice. How community strength and capacity can be built through research is instructive for health promotion practice. Key words: domestic violence, participation, partnerships, refugee communities, Participatory Action Research

© Australian Health Promotion Association 2011

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