The Digital Library North project has been designed with a number of different research contexts in mind. The following pages outline these contexts in detail.
When conducting community-driven and community-based research, it is critically important to be aware of and to use culturally appropriate methods. Lee (2011) reports that it can be difficult to find indigenous research participants due to a long history in which they have not benefitted from research results. Balanoff et al. (2006) stress the need to decolonize methodologies by collaborating with community members (including those fluent in the local language), at all stages of a research project—from planning, through to research studies and dissemination (see also IPHRC 2004; Bushnell 2009; Hollowell 2009). It is imperative that elders and community participants understand the purpose and application of the research, be remunerated for their work, be given credit for their input and the opportunity to review and approve work before it is disseminated (Tyson 1999; Hollowell 2009). Our theoretical framework will draw upon multiple approaches and methodologies. Specific research tools include qualitative, phenomenological studies involving interviews or conversations (Walts 2011; Bushnell 2009; Thorpe et al. 2001) and surveys (Lee 2011). Ethnographic studies (focus groups, oral histories, participant observation, archival research, site visits) are also valuable in understanding complex cultural information and issues (Hollowell 2009), and are particularly relevant and suitable for this study, as they allow us to conduct observation and interviews, review documentation, and immerse in the community’s culture and the worldviews of its members (Bates 2005). Face to face surveys, focus groups and interviews will be used to gather qualitative and quantitative information about information needs and information-seeking behaviours. Grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Pandit 1996) will be used to analyze the data gathered in order to derive dominant themes and categories that represent information needs, behaviours and practices of the participants.