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40 First Peoples Child & Family Review An Interdisciplinary Journal Honoring the Voices, Perspectives and Knowledges of First Peoples through Research, Critical Analyses, Stories, Standpoints and Media Reviews Conversational Method in Indigenous Research Margaret Kovach a Abstract ,Q UHÀHFWLQJ XSRQ WZR TXDOLWDWLYH UHVHDUFK SURMHFWV LQFRUSRUDWLQJ an Indigenous methodology, this article focuses on the use of the conversational method as a means for gathering knowledge WKURXJK VWRU\± 7KH DUWLFOH ¿UVW SURYLGHV D WKHRUHWLFDO GLVFXVVLRQ which illustrates that for the conversational method to be identi-ː ¿HG DV DQ ,QGLJHQRXV UHVHDUFK PHWKRG LW PXVW ÀRZ IURP DQ ,Q digenous paradigm. The article then moves to an exploration of WKH FRQYHUVDWLRQDO PHWKRG LQ DFWLRQ DQG RIIHUV UHÀHFWLRQV RQ WKH VLJQL¿FDQFH RI UHVHDUFKHU²LQ²UHODWLRQ DQG WKH LQWHU²UHODWLRQVKLS between this method, ethics and care. Questions or correspondence concerning this article may be ad-ː dressed to: [email protected] a PhD, Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations, University of Sasktachewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Volume 5, Number 1, 2010, p. 40-ː48 Introduction Indigenous knowledges comprise a specific way of knowing based upon oral tradition of sharing knowledge. It is akin to what different Indigenous researchers, the world over, identify as storytelling, yarning, talk story, re-storying, re-membering (Thomas, 2005; Bishop, 1999; Absolon & Willett, 2004). In this article I refer to this same approach as the conversational method. The conversational method is a means of gathering knowledge found within Indigenous research. The conversational method is of significance to Indigenous methodologies because it is a method of gathering knowledge based on oral story telling tradition congruent with an Indigenous paradigm. It involves a dialogic participation that holds a deep purpose of sharing story as a means to assist others. It is relational at its core. In exploring the conversational method, this article first sets the context through a theoretical discussion of Indigenous methodologies as a paradigmatic approach. It then proceeds to a concerted focus on conversation as method. To highlight the practical application of the conversational method, I offer a commentary on two research projects I have carried out using this method. The article concludes with a reflection on the implications arising from the inter-relationship between method, ethics, and care when using the conversational method. Why a focus on method? In reflecting upon research methods generally Wilson (2001) points out that there are methods that are “useful from an Indigenous perspective” and some which “are really built on the dominant paradigms, and they are inseparable from them” (p. 177). In making this claim, Wilson’s argument supports the notion that Indigenous methodologies are a paradigmatic approach based upon an Indigenous philosophical positioning or epistemology.

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