Ethical Use and Impact of Participatory Approaches to Research in Post-Disaster Environments: An Australian Bushfire Case Study

Lisa Gibbs, Karen Block, Colin MacDougall, Louise Harms, Elyse Baker, John Richardson, Greg Ireton, Hugh Gallagher, Richard Bryant, Dean Lusher, Philippa Pattison, Julie Watson, Joy Gillett, Alana Pirrone-Savona, Robyn Molyneaux, Sophie Sexton-Bruce, David Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a case study of Beyond Bushfires, a large, multisite, mixed method study of the psychosocial impacts of major bushfires in Victoria, Australia. A participatory approach was employed throughout the study which was led by a team of academic investigators in partnership with service providers and government representatives and used on-site visits and multiple methods of communication with communities across the state to inform decision-making throughout the study. The ethics and impacts of conducting and adapting the approach within a post-disaster context will be discussed in reference to theories and models of participatory health research. The challenges of balancing local interests with state-wide implications will also be explored in the description of the methods of engagement and the study processes and outcomes. Beyond Bushfires demonstrates the feasibility of incorporating participatory methods in large, post-disaster research studies and achieving rigorous findings and multilevel impacts, while recognising the potential for some of the empowering aspects of the participatory experience to be reduced by the scaled-up approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5621609
Number of pages11
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2018 L. Gibbs et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Post-Disaster Environments
  • Bushfire
  • Beyond Bushfires


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethical Use and Impact of Participatory Approaches to Research in Post-Disaster Environments: An Australian Bushfire Case Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this