Trusting relationships and learning together: A rapid review of Indigenous reference groups in Australian Indigenous health research

Publication Name

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health


Objective: This rapid review aims to identify how Indigenous research governance is conceptualised, implemented and documented within Australian Indigenous health research studies. Methods: We searched for peer-reviewed English-language articles in two databases and for web-based grey literature published from database inception to November 2021. Reference lists were searched to identify additional articles. Data relating to research governance were extracted and analysed thematically. Results: A total of 1120 records were screened, and 27 articles were included. Most articles providing detailed description of Indigenous research governance activities were qualitative studies (n=15, 55.6%). Key themes included members are experts; respectful relationships; flexibility; and key logistic considerations (nuts ‘n’ bolts). Conclusions: Although Indigenous research governance is recognised as an essential part of ethical research, activities and contributions made by Indigenous reference group (IRG) members are underreported. This important work needs greater visibility in the published literature to share best practice in Indigenous research governance that foregrounds Indigenous expert knowledge, perspectives, and experiences. Implications for Public Health: The study provides a synthesis of factors to consider when establishing and facilitating an IRG for research with Indigenous communities. This has implications for researchers who can adapt and apply the findings to their practice.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access





Article Number


Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



Link to publisher version (DOI)