Northern Men's Research Project

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, aboriginal community, education, employment, literacy, skills training

Principal Investigator: Randall, Katie A (2)
Licence Number: 15474
Organization: NWT Literacy Council
Licensed Year(s): 2014 2013
Issued: May 28, 2014

Objective(s): To conduct research to identify gaps and barriers and supportive factors to Inuit, First Nations and Metis men’s participation in education (particularly literacy and essential skills [LES] acquisition) and employment.

Project Description: The objectives of this research project are:
1. to conduct research to identify gaps and barriers and supportive factors to Inuit, First Nations and Metis men’s participation in education (particularly literacy and essential skills [LES] acquisition) and employment;
2. to build the research & knowledge capacity of the northern literacy coalitions to further our goals of becoming centers of expertise;
3. to develop a set of recommendations that will help to address the gaps and barriers in workforce development and to address related employment issues;
4. to influence development of new models for delivery of adult LES programs, and models for the recruitment, retention, and skill development of Inuit, First Nations, and Metis men; and
5. to share what we have learned with practitioners, policy and program developers and others to integrate the research results with current practice to address men’s LES and thus their employability issues.

The researchers will collect first-hand testimonies of men’s experiences with education and employment. The research team will collect broad-based survey data as well as conduct in depth case studies of particular Inuit, First Nations and Metis men. Data collection will occur in three stages: focus groups and pilot interviews; closed questionnaire; case study/in-depth interviews. Exact protocols for interviews and subsequent analysis will be developed by the research team, with the support of an external university-based research advisor. The results will be analyzed and overall outcomes, as well as key program elements that supported learning these outcomes, will be identified.

The communities of Whati and Ulukhaktok were chosen as a field site for this research because these communities have supports to access formal education and employment opportunities related to this research, and because early consultation contacts among the people of the community show the community has human resources and offices to compliment the smooth direction of data collection and management.

This research is conducted by Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council, Northwest Territories Literacy Council, Yukon Literacy Coalition and Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador with support from a university-based academic in an advisory/support role. The research will be conducted in the NWT under the auspices of the NWT Literacy Council, with trained community-based researchers conducting the research and analyzing and interpreting the findings. The process builds the capacity of NWT Literacy Council to carry out high quality, community-based research and increases the number of NWT residents trained in qualitative research techniques. The community-based, participatory approach creates space for men to reflect on their own experiences in post-secondary education and work, and for their voices to be heard by a broader audience.

The understandings of men’s experiences gained through the project will be used to support and inform the work of the NWT Literacy Council. It is also hoped that the findings will inform policy development in the NWT, and that community organizations and the Government of the Northwest Territories will apply findings to develop programming and policies particularly suited to men’s needs and aspirations with regard to literacy and essential skill acquisition and workforce engagement.

Ultimately, this research fills a pressing need in NWT and other northern regions to identify the supportive factors that will improve educational outcomes and employability of First Nations men. The research will become a resource for future programming in this direction.

Protocols for recruiting and selecting research participants will be finalized in consultation with community researchers from the communities in which the research will be conducted. A draft plan for recruitment and selection is as follows:

Stage 1: Pilot interviews and focus groups
-Recruitment through word of mouth and community nomination.
Stage 2: Closed questionnaires
-Recruitment through employers, educators, men’s groups, and related organizations (e.g. hunters and trappers), as identified by community researchers
Stage 3: In-depth interviews
- Recruitment through closed questionnaire (participants self-select for eligibility). Final selection by community researcher.

NWT Literacy Council will offer a presentation in the communities, on the findings in the final report. It will also distribute approximately 300 copies of the final report to stakeholders. The community researchers will also support ongoing word-of-mouth communication of research process and findings.

The potential for individual community research findings will be looked at for potential sharing. The final determination of whether and how the research team present information, and whether the team will break results down per territory and /or per community, will be dependent upon the extent to which this can be accomplished while not compromising anonymity of participants.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.