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The Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) incorporates national data collected by many of New Zealand’s government agencies, some non-government organisations, Census and other national surveys. Using the IDI for research into social, cultural, health, or other outcomes has become much more common, reflecting its research potential. The primary aim of this paper is to discuss the utility of the IDI for use by Pacific researchers. We use the experiences from a research project collaboration between Pasifika Futures and a University of Otago study. A second aim for this paper is to discuss whether Pacific researchers should consider integrating their own data with data in the IDI. This is an option available to some organisations within the IDI, to supplement their own data with that of other government agencies.
For Pacific researchers, the IDI offers sufficient numbers to investigate outcomes to a level of detail that was available to only a handful of previous studies. With its ability to draw information from multiple sources, it seems a valuable addition to the information requirements of Pacific health research. But it is not without its limitations and it falls well short of being the total solution to all Pacific data needs and the need for other contextual research is likely to remain necessary. Furthermore, from a Pacific perspective, it also comes with several caveats that can reduce its usefulness for many Pacific communities. It is particularly lacking in terms of measures that reflect the value of Pacific culture.
The IDI offers a cost effective, secure and timely alternative to that process. We argue that it is important that as a community we encourage Pacific researchers to take leadership in shaping the stories that emerge from the IDI. To uphold Pacific world-views, prevent deficit-framed findings and even add value in terms of measures indicating strength of culture.
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