Stage 1: The Research Design and Student Perspectives

The first stage of the research process took place within the timeframe of a postsecondary level 3-credit course (13 weeks) starting in January and continuing to the end of early April 2007. For this stage, we interviewed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, both current and alumni, who had attended courses with significant Aboriginal content at UBC, Point Grey campus. We chose video as the primary medium for this project because of its powerful ability to communicate the impact of students’ experiences, more so than may be possible in print or other media. In addition, we wanted to provide participants with a medium that would allow them to represent themselves with as much authority over their accounts and reflections as possible.

In this first stage of the project, our deliverables consisted of:

  1. A project proposal detailing our project design, deliverables, and timeline;
  2. An edited DVD of interviews;
  3. A video archive of the full-length interviews;
  4. An annotated bibliography of sources relevant to our investigation;
  5. A final critical paper analyzing of our research findings and methodology, and integrating analysis of the sources identified for the annotated bibliography.

The completion of deliverables in this stage of the project was greatly assisted by our previous year’s experience of completing a major research project as a part of the First Nations Studies major program. FNSP 400 – Practicum is a 6-credit course conducted from September to March every year in the First Nations Studies Program. The Practicum partners senior FNSP students with local Aboriginal organizations to develop and conduct a major research project with that organization. Student projects are diverse depending on the project design that they have negotiated with their partner organization, but involve a similar research process and timeline, and frequently similar deliverables (ie. an archive of interviews, research reports, etc). The Practicum gave us the experience and a curricular framework to develop and successfully complete the first stage of this project in the time frame of a 3-credit course. For more information about the FNSP Practicum, please click here.


This timeline reflects our research process, which closely follows that for the FNSP 400 – Practicum, albeit in a compressed timeframe (from 8 months for our Practicum projects to roughly 3 months for our project design). This timeline identifies deliverables that were possible to produce within the timeframe of a 13-week, 3 credit course; after the end of the course, project materials continued to be under development and new materials added to the project.

December: Complete and submit application for human subjects research to the Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB).**

Mid-January: Begin research for annotated bibliography.

Mid-February: Upon Ethics Board approval, begin recruitment by circulating posters advertising an information session about the project and its goals. Book a space for the information session and produce materials for attendees. Conduct information session and collect contact information of interested participants. Begin to set up and conduct individual interviews with interested participants.

Mid-February to mid-March: Organize and conduct focus groups, if interest and participation warrants. Continue to conduct individual interviews.

Mid- to end of March: Complete collecting interviews and focus groups. Begin editing of individual interviews and focus groups for archive and edited video.

End of March/ Early April: Produce edit of video to screen for participants’ review. Complete and submit analytical report of research findings and research methodology, and annotated bibliography.

**We began the process of writing and submitting Human Subjects paperwork almost two months prior to the start date of our project in order to provide enough time to get approval to begin the research process. Ethics approval is an important step in the research process, and can be time consuming. Our paperwork sent back to us twice with provisos, and it took two months before we received approval to proceed with interviewing participants. Ethics approval can take a considerable amount of time, particularly when interviewing participants on videotape, and this should be considered well in advance of any planned start-date for this kind of research project.