Yarning/Aboriginal storytelling: towards an understanding of an Indigenous perspective and its implications for research practice

Contemp Nurse. 2013 Dec;46(1):13-7. doi: 10.5172/conu.2013.46.1.13.


There is increasing recognition of Indigenous perspectives from various parts of the world in relation to storytelling, research and its effects on practice. The recent emergence of storytelling or yarning as a research method in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island studies and other Indigenous peoples of the world is gaining momentum. Narratives, stories, storytelling and yarning are emerging methods in research and has wide ranging potential to shape conventional research discourse making research more meaningful and accessible for researchers. In this paper we argue for the importance of Indigenous research methods and Indigenous method(ology), within collaborative respectful partnerships with non-Indigenous researchers. It is imperative to take these challenging steps together towards better outcomes for Indigenous people and their communities. In the Australian context we as researchers cannot afford to allow the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and mainstream Australia health outcomes to grow even wider. One such pathway is the inclusion of Aboriginal storytelling or yarning from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait perspective within Indigenous and non-Indigenous research paradigms. Utilising Aboriginal storytelling or yarning will provide deeper understanding; complementing a two-way research paradigm for collaborative research. Furthermore, it has significant social implications for research and clinical practice amongst Indigenous populations; thus complementing the biomedical medical paradigm.

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Research / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Narration*
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*