Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science Honours


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Dr Marg Hall

Second Supervisor

Dr David Ryder


Cultural security is the maintenance of values and beliefs and the celebration of diversity unique to different cultures. This honours thesis developed a proposed framework to guide collaborative ethics procedures that demonstrate the Aboriginal values relevant to health research for use in Western Australia (WA). These values of reciprocity, respect, equality, responsibility, survival and protection, and spirit and integrity have been identified in the National Health and Medical Research Council's Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research. Ethical procedures for maintaining cultural security when conducting health research among Aboriginal people throughout Australia were investigated. Current practices in international and national Indigenous health research were reviewed to gain a better understanding of an Australian Aboriginal context. The literature confirmed that a community development approach aimed at empowering a community through involvement, consultation and ownership would assist in maintaining the cultural security of Aboriginal health research participants. As a descriptive study, the attitudes and experiences of Aboriginal researchers and Aboriginal health workers in the demonstration of these values in Aboriginal child health research were also investigated. Data were gathered using two questionnaires. The first questionnaire collected practice-based evidence (in a face-to-face interview) from two Aboriginal researchers with extensive experience in Aboriginal· child health research to create case studies of the procedures they employed to demonstrate the values listed above. The literature review and the case studies were used to develop a proposed framework for demonstrating the values. Expert consultation was sought for content validation of the proposed framework. A panel of health promotion practitioners and researchers were asked to complete a semi-structured questionnaire about the proposed framework. Nineteen participants were recruited for the expert panel and seven completed questionnaires were returned. On a continuous scale of 1-5 for maintaining cultural security (where a higher score indicates cultural security would be maintained) all 29 proposed framework examples received a mean rating of >3.5. The 29 framework examples were then matched to the values of reciprocity, respect, equality, responsibility, survival and protection and spirit and integrity. An additional 87 items were presented to the expert panel members to explore group consensus that the examples demonstrate the Aboriginal values relevant to health research. Seventy nine items received a mean rating >4.0. Unexpectedly, consensus among the panel members that framework examples demonstrated the Aboriginal values relevant to health research was not reached for 27 of the 87 examples. These examples were related to: participant recruitment; capacity building; community involvement; committee involvement; potential use of project information; project agreements; and complaints processes. A more indepth expert consultation on these examples was outside the scope of this thesis project. The overall feedback from the expert panel indicated that a revised framework would assist researchers achieve two things: demonstrate the Aboriginal values relevant to health research; and maintain the cultural security of project participants. Mean scores and comments by the expert panel were used to review the proposed framework. The revised framework will be used to guide the ethics application for a school-based Aboriginal bullying prevention and reduction project to be conducted in a Midwest, Murchison community in W.A.