CREATE Methods Group
In health research, systematic review is widely recognised as the pinnacle of the evidence hierarchy available to guide decision makers towards implementing best practice policy and health care. Systematic review has been underutilised as a tool for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. There is currently no guidance for the conduct of systematic reviews that accommodates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and understandings of evidence. Our aim is to generate systematic review guidance, tools and reporting standards that align with principles for conducting ethical research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to embed Indigenous knowledge in review findings and recommendations.
The objectives of the CREATE Methods Group are to:
- Explore the strengths and limitations of systematic review as a methodology for knowledge translation to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health;
- Develop and promote the use of appropriate systematic review guidance and tools (for example critical appraisal and data extraction);
- Develop and promote the use of standards to enhance reporting of systematic reviews of research conducted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
- Promote use of the guidance and tools developed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners and researchers through capacity strengthening initiatives.
Through disseminating and supporting the use of these tools we will contribute to systematic reviews that synthesise evidence the ‘right way’ to inform health practice and policy and improve health outcomes.
Project 1: Critical Appraisal through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lens
To develop an instrument that appraises the ethical and methodological quality of research conducted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective.
The instrument is designed to be use used in conjunction with existing critical appraisal tools.
Progress to date
Four workshops were convened with the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous members of the CREATE Methods Group to develop a draft set of criteria for appraising primary research from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective.
Researchers brainstormed the question “What constitutes the principal features of appropriate – ethical and rigorous – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research?”
The findings were analysed for their similarity in meaning and grouped into four domains:
- Knowledge systems
- Community traditions and culture
A set of draft questions for the checklist was developed from the findings.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers within the CREATE Methods Group, who are leading this initiative, held a series of further workshops to reflect on and enhance the tool. The adjustments included adding an Ethics domain and incorporating questions under the community traditions and culture domain into the other domains, and therefore deleting the latter domain.
The draft tool was shared in a workshop with researchers from James Cook University with expertise in developing criteria and tools to promote ethical, rigorous and relevant research for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Further revisions have been made from the input provided at that workshop.
Over the next eighteen months:
- A companion document to support people who wish to apply the tool will be developed.
- The draft tool will be piloted by research fellows and student working on systematic review projects within CREATE, as well as by Indigenous researchers conducting reviews outside of the CREATE program.
- The draft tool will be reviewed by experts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research methods and ethics and the CREATE Leadership Group representatives.
The tool will then be distributed for use.