Engaging the practice of Indigenous yarning in Action Research


  • Bronywn Fredericks
  • Karen Adams


Anti-smoking, community development, yarnining, Indigenous research


This paper discusses the technique of ‘yarning’ as an action research process relevant for policy development work with Aboriginal peoples. Through a case study of an Aboriginal community-based smoking project in the Australian State of Victoria, the paper demonstrates how the Aboriginal concept of ‘yarning’ can be used to empower people to create policy change that not only impacts on their own health, but also impacts on the health of others and the Aboriginal organisation for which they work. The paper presents yarning within the context of models of empowerment and a methodological approach of participatory action research. The method is based on respect and inclusivity, with the final policy developed by staff for staff. Yarning is likely to be successful for action researchers working within a variety of Indigenous contexts.

Author Biographies

Bronywn Fredericks

Dr Bronwyn Fredericks Bronwyn Fredericks is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow with the Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology (QUT). She also holds an Adjunct position with Monash University and a Visiting Fellow with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).

Karen Adams

Dr Karen Adams is Team Leader, Research and Health Information, Public Health and Research Unit, VACCHO. She is also an Associate Professor with the Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit, Victoria University.