Indigenous men taking their rightful place in society? A preliminary analysis of a participatory action research process with Yarrabah Men's Health Group. Academic Article uri icon


  • Men's groups are increasingly being accepted as an important strategy in improving health and well-being, especially in Indigenous communities. However, it is hard to find systematic documentation and evaluation of such initiatives in the literature. This paper analyses the formative stages of a participatory action research (PAR) process which aims to engage and support the members of the Yarrabah Men's Health Group plan, implement and evaluate their activities. Data for the paper are based on a combination of a review of relevant literature, analysis of project documentation, participant observation and discussion and reflection with the participants of the men's group. The paper highlights the importance of (a) using a reflective approach, such as PAR, to engage men's support groups to clearly define the principles and values which both define them and to which they aspire and (b) personal development, education and employment, as a prerequisite for Indigenous men taking greater control and responsibility for their lives. These types of micro-level studies have important implications for the way community development is perceived and approached in Indigenous settings. There are also implications for the roles that academic researchers can play in supporting and adding value to community-driven initiatives to the mutual benefit of both parties.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002