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Exploring Research...Continued

My identified problem is the lower grades, outcomes, and standards which exist in Northern community schools. Through evidence, I believe I will ascertain that this problem is a result of the disconnect between western-rooted curriculum and Indigenous traditional practices, and intergenerational trauma, in Northern Indigenous communities.

Qualitative data collection procedure:

1. Approval process of the campus institutional review board

a. My qualitative data collection will consist of lengthy periods of gathering information directly involving people and recording personal views from individuals in their homes and at the school. Therefore, I will need permission to study individuals.

b. This step will include seeking permission from the board, developing a description of my project, designing a consent form, and then having the project reviewed.

c. I will need to develop detailed descriptions of the procedure so the reviewers are able to understand potential risks to the people involved.

d. I will need to detail how I will protect the anonymity. I will likely use initials.

e. I will discuss the need to respect the research site and how I plan not to disrupt the classrooms.

f. I will detail how my study will provide opportunities to give back, such as providing the study to educational boards in the Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories highlighting my findings and hopefully, encourage the boards to adopt better policies.

g. I will acknowledge that during my prolonged interaction I will likely adopt their beliefs. I know this because after being up here for a lengthy period of time, I have already done so.

h. I will detail my timing at the classrooms, with students, in homes, and community centres.

i. I will include a list of questions I will have for students, teachers, admin, and community members.

2. Permission from individuals and sites at many levels through identifying and making use of gatekeepers

a. I will need to speak to the school boards, the principals, the teachers, EAs, and staff at the schools.

b. I will need to speak to the chief and council in the communities I study in order to garner trust from the community.

c. I will need to provide why I chose those communities, what I hope to accomplish, how much time I will spend, how I will use my results, and how I hope to improve the education of Indigenous students

3. Hosting an information night for the community will furthermore help to build trust and encourage participation.

Qualitative data collection and recording:


Gather fieldnotes by:

- Conducting observation as an observer

- Spending more time as an observer

As I am looking at how Indigenous students learn best, it is better suited for me to observe rather than participate

Interviews and Questionnaires

Unstructured, open-ended interview (with notes and audio)

Semistructured interviews (with notes and audio)

Focus group interviews (notes and audio)

Questionnaires for the community, school staff, and students



Public documents relating to the education

School documents (attendance, grades, drop out rates, discipline, curriculum)

Portfolios of work

Audio visual

Photographs and video tapes

Possessions and Indigenous objects

Field and Ethical issues:

My likely, potential Field issues:


Gaining access from community or schools, getting people to respond to requests


Incorporating quotes, how to best collect information


Saying little, scheduling time, interruptions, the sensitive nature of talking about Trauma, appropriate questions, encouraging participants to talk, trusting me as a white person


Locating materials

My likely, potential Ethical issues:

Procedural ethics

Seeking approval from relevant ethics committees, basic rights, the ability to plan for unexpected outcomes or adverse effects, planning for privacy and confidentiality

Ethics in practice

Day-to-day ethical issues, unpredictability, ethically important moments (deciding how far to probe about a difficult experience)

Relational ethics

Ethics of care, who my participants are and how I relate to them, kind of relationship established and how alters the research process, sustained relationships, respect, dignity, connectedness


1. Experiential learning: Dewey’s 1938 philosophy of the interconnectedness between experience and education is also a foundation for this study. Home, community, school, and relationships with peers and teachers contribute to the overall learning experience of First Nation youth; as I seek to understand why curriculum is failing the First Nation peoples, looking at the overall experience serves to provide answers.

2. Indigenous ways of knowing: Smith’s 1999 concept of rewriting and re-righting the Indigenous position in history and society is an additional foundation for this study. Incorporating Indigenous knowledge into research rather than relying on Western theories requires me to include the core values, beliefs, and healing practices of the Indigenous communities. Moreover, the cultural teachings of Indigenous nations (which are vast) are incorporated to provide answers regarding to how First Nation youth learn successfully.

3. Impact of traumatic experiences: Three elements are necessary for events to be traumatizing. The event must be extremely negative, uncontrollable, and sudden. The behavioural learning and cognitive processes that occur following the traumatic event are important when examining First Nation education as there is ongoing, and intergenerational trauma impacting the ability of students to learn. Factors that influence the response to trauma (biological, developmental level, severity, social context, life events) serves to provide answers as to why First Nation youth learn the way they do.

4. Critical rationalism: the questioning and examining of the authenticity of ideas and practices. Requires intense thinking and open discourse for solving the issues adjacent to the Indigenous experience. Critical theory focuses on an understanding of power structures, which often is found in Indigenous studies. It examines how power structures impact individuals and societal agencies which are found throughout the Indigenous experience in Canada.

5. Ethnographic analysis is suited to the details and subtleties of the Indigenous community setting, since insider perspective is crucial to understanding the relationship between education and First Nation youth.

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