Performing research with Sami entrepreneurs

Performing research with Sami entrepreneurs

March 27, 2017
Head of Communication

Researchers will use a completely new dialogue-based research method to find out what creates, hinders or reduces manoeuvring space for entrepreneurs in Sami areas.

By: Mali A. Arnstad, kommunikasjonsrådgiver.

What has a positive or negative impact? How can they establish themselves, operate and grow? The researchers will find answers to these questions.

This pioneering work does not involve Norut doing research on these entrepreneurs, which is the traditional research method. Instead, they will do research together with them. There will be special focus on entrepreneurs in Sami tourism.

“We will test dialogue-based collaboration between researchers and entrepreneurs. The aim is to develop knowledge together,” says Project Manager Line Mathisen at Norut in Alta.

Develop greater ownership

In practice, this means that the informants will be given the opportunity to comment on the research findings during the project. The researchers will invite the informants to dialogue meetings during the project to present preliminary findings and ask for input.

“This is a new way of collaborating, as we will get information from the entrepreneurs over a longer period. It is reminiscent of the action research method where we work very close to businesses. During this project, we will test how the informants respond when they become more involved in the research process. We think they will develop greater ownership of what is happening,” she explains.

The researchers will observe gatherings in which the tourism entrepreneurs are involved, while the entrepreneurs will also be involved in seminars and dialogue meetings organized by the researchers.

Three years

The project has received funding of NOK 3 million from the Regional Research Fund of Northern Norway (RFF) and will run for a three-year period. Norut is also performing a smaller scale project for the Sami Parliament of Norway aimed at increasing the number of start-up businesses in Sami areas.

“It will be important to see the two projects in context and try to benefit from the knowledge that is developed during the projects,” says the Norut researcher.

The project is currently in the start-up phase. The first year will mostly be spent on data collection. The researchers will then write articles and work reports. They will also collaborate closely with the Sami Tourism project administered by the Northern Norway Tourist Board.

Small businesses

The entrepreneurs are small-scale businesses engaged in the tourism or culture sectors. They offer products such as nature- and culture-based experiences, which may include Sami storytelling, food or joik (traditional song). It will also be important for the researchers to study how funding agencies – the Sami Parliament of Norway, Innovation Norway and others – work for them.

“We would like to create knowledge that the businesses can use to develop further,” says Line Mathisen.

The researchers will collaborate with Dalarna University in Sweden to see how similar projects have been implemented there. They will also collaborate with the Faculty of Sports, Tourism and Social Work at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Ávvir: Dutkit ovttasbarget sámi ealáhusaiguin