Research & evaluation

Quality research and evaluation across all disciplines that privileges Aboriginal community capabilities and control.

A circular graphic describes the main areas of Yuwaya Ngarra-li's Research, Learning & Evaluation approach: Improving Lives; Accountability; Evidence-Based Solutions; and Systems Change

Our approach

Yuwaya Ngarra-li’s approach to research and evaluation is a response to harmful and discriminatory approaches to research in the past.

Ruth McCausland has developed a specific Research Protocol which sets out the context, principles and processes for research undertaken as part of Yuwaya Ngarra-li. It provides advice and templates for staff and students who are interested in becoming involved in YN’s work.

After decades of observing and attempting to influence poor policy and practice by government agencies in Walgett, DEG invited UNSW to work in partnership to better inform and build the evidence base for improved holistic government service delivery, natural resource management and infrastructure planning. Yuwaya Ngarra-li seeks to continue to contribute to quality research and education across all disciplines that builds Aboriginal community capabilities and control. 

A recent article in Community Development by the Yuwaya Ngarra-li team details the development and approach of our partnership, including our approach to research and evaluation.

Yuwaya Ngarra-li strives to ensure all research undertaken as part of its partnership adheres to its key principles and seeks to respect and build Walgett Aboriginal community capabilities and control in all aspects. In line with this, researchers wishing to work with Yuwaya Ngarra-li need to understand and commit to the following:

    1. DEG sets the protocols, priorities, timeline and terms of engagement for research and collaboration as part of YN. While the timeframes and requirements of grants, ethics, field work and reporting prescribed for researchers are taken into consideration, the onus is on researchers to manage, adapt and negotiate these to fit DEG protocols and priorities.
    2. The process for becoming a research collaborator involves invitation by the DEG, cultural induction, relationship building and ongoing accountability. This involves an initial meeting with the Elders and other community members once invited, either online or in Walgett; completion of induction; negotiation of research questions in consultation with DEG to ensure they meet community priorities; periods of more intensive collaboration, relationship building and data gathering as required; reporting back on draft findings in appropriate formats, and follow up to ensure appropriate community input and impact.
    3. Respect for Indigenous Knowledges and local expertise. Listening to and learning from local Walgett Aboriginal community expertise is critical, as is giving primacy to Walgett Aboriginal Community collaborators’ voices and perspectives, even if researchers have worked with Indigenous communities and people in other contexts.
    4. Building control, participation and capabilities of Aboriginal people in all aspects of YN’s work is a core responsibility of research collaborators. This includes developing and employing Aboriginal researchers in Walgett wherever possible.
    5. Data sovereignty and intellectual property are to be negotiated by research collaborators with DEG, including the creation, collection, access, analysis, interpretation, storage, management, dissemination and reuse of data relating to the Walgett Aboriginal community. Community ownership and control of data is prioritised, and the contribution and IP of DEG and other Walgett Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and individuals valued and acknowledged in all presentations and publications. 
    6. Accountability and reporting back to DEG and other Aboriginal community collaborators on research findings, outcomes and impact is a key responsibility of research collaborators through forums and mediums advised by the DEG, such as community workshops hosted by DEG and accessible community-oriented publications.
    7. Co-presentation and co-publication of research methodologies and findings with Walgett YN collaborators. Researchers must seek permission to speak and write about their YN-associated research and collaboration.

    Yuwaya Ngarra-li undertakes regular community data gathering to inform its planning and evaluation and reports back to and takes advice from the DEG, other community-controlled organisational partners, services and community members in Walgett. We are committed to building a reflective learning culture in all aspects of our work.

    Yuwaya Ngarra-li's Research Protocol sets out the context, principles and processes for research undertaken as part of YN.

Current research

Data linkage project

A particular focus of Yuwaya Ngarra-li is on increasing the understanding and strategic use of administrative data to inform our planning, evaluation and progress towards Yuwaya Ngarra-li’s long-term aims. This is achieved through an iterative process of collaboration and capacity building between the DEG, UNSW and other stakeholders. 

Collaborative research projects

Read about current and past collaborative research projects involving the Dharriwaa Elders Group, Yuwaya Ngarra-li staff, and multiple other stakeholders.

Cultural and community induction

The engagement of UNSW staff and students involves intensive processes of dialogue and induction to ensure common understandings and processes for collaboration. After the DEG has invited a potential collaborator to work to support the vision of YN, they undertake a day’s program of induction led by trusted Aboriginal scholars at UNSW.