Methodological tensions for non-Indigenous people in Indigenous research: A critique of critical discourse analysis in the Australian context

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


There are complex ethical issues about appropriate roles, responsibilities and methodologies for non-Indigenous people researching Indigenous Peoples and contexts. As a research methodology, critical discourse analysis (CDA) may expose colonial power and inequities through an examination of language and discourse. This study examined, via a scoping review, non-Indigenous researcher CDA application when analysing discourse relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Australia. Eighteen articles were included in the analysis. Within most articles, settler colonialism, imperialism, white supremacy and/or structural racism were named when examining oppressive power structures. Whilst some studies incorporated the scholarship of critical theorists and
critical Indigenous theorists, this review raised further questions about the methodological underpinning of studies. For example, there were a high number of authors with unexamined power, sociocultural position and
standpoint, particularly when analysing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ talk and text. In proposing a way forward for CDA research in Indigenous contexts, this review identifies three areas for non-Indigenous
researchers to consider: critical reflexivity, colonial power analysis and demonstrable anti-racist action.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100282
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Sciences & Humanities Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Settler colonialism
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Methodology
  • Reflexivity
  • Racism
  • Power

Cite this