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Ethics resources

National Guidelines

NHMRC ResourcesALT TITLE

Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders:
Ethical issues and resources
Keeping research on track
​​​​Keeping research on track II
Road Map 3: A strategic framework for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health through research
Road Map 3 - Report of Community Consultations Road Map 3: A strategic framework for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health through research. Report of Community Consultations. Action Plan 2018 - 2021 Triennium to implement Road Map 
Ethical guidelines for research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, NHMRC (updated 2018)
Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders

Academic ArticlesALT TITLE

Anderson, I, Griew, R & McAullay, D 'Ethics guidelines, health research and Indigenous Australians,' New Zealand Bioethics Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, 2003, pp. 20-29.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2012, Guidelines for ethical research in Indigenous Australian Studies, AIATSIS, Canberra.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2015, Guidelines for the ethical publishing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors and research from those communities, AIATSIS, Canberra.

Chong, Alwin 2016, 'The past and the journey', in G Ayturk (ed), AHREC celebrating 30 years, Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, Adelaide, pp. 10-15.

Fitzpatrick, E, Martiniuk, A, D'Antoine, H, Oscar, J, Carter, M & Elliott, E 'Seeking consent for research with indigenous communities a systematic review Ethics in Biomedical Research,' Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 17, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-18.

Lisa M Jamieson, Yin C Paradies, Sandra Eades, Alwin Chong, Louise Maple-Brown, Peter Morris, Ross Bailie, Alan Cass, Kaye Roberts-Thomson and Alex Brown, Ten principles relevant to health research among Indigenous Australian populations,  Medical Journal of Australia 2012; 197 (1): 16-18. doi: 10.5694/mja11.11642

Fee paying articlesALT TITLE

Bainbridge, Roxanne, Tsey, Komla, Brown, Catherine, McCalman, Janya, Cadet-James, Yvonne, Margolis, Steven & Ypinazar, Valmae 'Coming to an ethics of research practice in a remote Aboriginal Australian community,' Contemporary Nurse, vol. 46, no. 1, 2014, pp. 18-27.

Barney, Katelyn 'We need more mob doing research’: Developing university strategies to facilitate successful pathways for Indigenous students into Higher Degrees by Research,' Higher Education Research & Development, vol. 37, no. 5, 2018, pp. 908-922.

Christie, Michael, Guyula, Yiniya, Gotha, Kathy & Gurruwiwi, Dhangal 'The Ethics of Teaching from Country', Australian Aboriginal Studies, vol. 2010, no. 2, 2010, pp. 69-80.

Dunbar, Terry & Scrimgeour, Margaret 'Ethics in Indigenous Research – Connecting with Community,' Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, vol. 3, 2006, pp. 179-185.

Elston, Kim Jacinta, Saunders, Vicki, Hayes, Barbara, Bainbridge, Roxanne & McCoy, Brian 'Building Indigenous Australian research capacity', Contemporary Nurse, vol. 46, no. 1, 2013, pp. 6-12.

Kwaymullina, Ambelin 'Research, Ethics and Indigenous Peoples: An Australian Indigenous perspective on three threshold considerations for respectful engagement,' AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, vol. 12, no. 4, 2016, pp. 437-449.

Smith, Laurajane 'Ethics or Social Justice?: Heritage and the Politics of Recognition,' Australian Aboriginal Studies, no. 2, 2010, pp. 60-68.

Other resourcesALT TITLE

Sophie Couzos, Traven Lea, Richard Murray & Margaret Culbong, 16 Aug 2006 We are not just participants – We are in charge: The NACCHO Ear Trial and the process for Aboriginal community-controlled health research, Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, Taylor & Francis Online Pages 91-111

Indigenous Research Resource Centre, Charles Darwin University

AH&MRC (2016). NSW Aboriginal Health Ethics Guidelines: Key Principles.

AH&MRC (2016). Guidelines for Research into Aboriginal Health Key Principles.

AIATSIS (2020). A Guide to applying the Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research.

AIATSIS (2020). Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research.

AIATSIS, Lowitja Institute & NHMRC (2013). Researching Right Way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Ethics: A Domestic and International Review.

AMSANT (2013). Aboriginal Health Research Policy. Aboriginal medical Services Alliance Northern Territory.

Bainbridge, Tsey, McCalman, Kinchin, Saunders, Watkin Lui, Cadet-James, Miller and Lawson. (2015). No one’s discussing the elephant in the room: contemplating questions of research impact and benefit in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian health research. BMC Public Health

Bond, Foley and Askew. (2016). It puts a human face on the researched, a qualitative evaluation of an Indigenous health research governance model. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Brown, D’Almada-Remedios, Gilbert, O’Leary and Young. (2020). Gari Yala (Speak the Truth): Centreing the Work Experiences of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians. Sydney, Diversity Council Australia/Jumbunna Institute.

Brands. (2014). The Shape of Things to Come: Visions for the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. The Lowitja Institute, Melbourne.

Canadian Assembly of First Nations. (2009). Ethics in First Nations Research.

CRE-STRIDE. (2020). Indigenous Research Framework. Centre for Research Excellence -Strengthening Indigenous Health Care Equity.

Dungeon, Kelly & Walker. (2010). Closing the gaps in and through Indigenous health research: Guidelines, processes and practices. Australian Aboriginal Studies

Ewen, Ryan & Platania (2019). Capacity building of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researcher workforce: a narrative review. Human Resources for Health.

Harfield, Pearson, Morey, Kite, Canuto, Glover, Gomersall, Carter, Davy, Aromataris and Braunack-Mayer. (2020). Assessing the quality of health research from an Indigenous perspective: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander quality appraisal tool. BMC Medical Research Methodology

Humphery. (2001). Dirty questions: Indigenous health and ‘Western research’. Australian And New Zealand Journal of Public Health. VOL. 25 NO. 3.

Humphery. (2003). Setting the Rules: The Development of the NHMRC Guidelines on Ethical Matters in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research. New Zealand Bioethics Journal.

Jamieson, Paradies, Eades, Chong, Maple-Brown, Morris, Bailie, Cass, Roberts-Thomson and Brown (2012). Ten principles relevant to health research among Indigenous Australian populations. Medical Journal of Australia.

Kinchin, McCalman, Bainbridge, Tsey and Lui. (2017). Does Indigenous health research have impact? A systematic review of reviews. International Journal for Equity in Health.

Laycock, Walker, Harrison & Brands. (2011). Researching Indigenous Health: A Practical Guide for Researchers. The Lowitja Institute, Melbourne.

Lin, Loyola-Sanchez & Boyling & Barnabe. (2020). Community engagement approaches for Indigenous health research: recommendations based on an integrative review.

National Ethics Advisory Committee–Kāhui Matatika o te Motu. (2012). Āhuatanga ū ki te tika me te pono mōte Rangahau Māori: Māori Research Ethics: An Overview. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

National Health and Medical Research Council, (2018). Keeping research on track II: A companion document to Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra.

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2018). Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders.  Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra.

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2018). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007(Updated 2018). Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra.

Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit (2008). We Can Like Research in Koori Hands: A Community Report on Onemda VicHealth Koori health Unit’s Research Workshops in 2007. University of Melbourne.

Stewart and Pyett. (2005). Victorian Aboriginal Ethics Project Report. VACCHO and Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit.

Universities Australia. (2017). Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020.

VicHealth Koori Health Research and Community Development Unit Centre for the Study of Health and Society (2000). We Don’t Like Research But in Koori Hands It Could Make a Difference. University of Melbourne.

VicHealth Koori Health Research and Community Development Unit Centre for the Study of Health and Society (2001). Research – Understanding Ethics. University of Melbourne. 

Walter & Suina. (2019). Indigenous data, Indigenous methodologies and Indigenous data sovereignty. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, VOL. 22, NO. 3, 233–243.

Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit (2014). South Australian Aboriginal Health Research Accord: Companion Document. SAHMRI.

Watson, Adams, Fredericks and Mahoney (2010). Strategic Directions Report for the Social Determinants of Aboriginal Health Project. Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Melbourne.

Ethics case studiesALT TITLE

The following projects have been chosen as case studies as they demonstrate ongoing ethical engagement, collaboration and partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and focus on capacity building and professional development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

These case studies – all of which were finalists in our Tarm doon nonin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heath research ethics award for 2015 – also demonstrate a high level of research translation to ensure stakeholder involvement at every stage of the research. Further case studies will be added following the Tarm doon nonin award in 2019.

Ethics evaluation for NHMRCALT TITLE

The Lowitja Institute in partnership with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), and on behalf of the National Health and Medical Research Council, undertook an evaluation of Values and ethics: Guidelines for ethical conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research (2003) and Keeping research on track: A guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about health research ethics (2005).

The evaluation sought to provide advice to the NHMRC on:

  • How to improve the effectiveness of the guidelines through interrogating their practical application
  • Training, capacity building, further investigations and/or development of additional appropriate guiding materials
  • Maintaining the contemporary nature of the guidelines through collection of suggested amendments, application and content and coverage issues.

The Evaluation report [1MB] of these two guidelines for the NHMRC is available for download, along with Researching right way: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research ethics – A domestic and international review by Ray Lovett of AIATSIS.