Making it Work

Image pictured above, the Making it Work study logo, was designed by Clayton Gauthier.

Initiative Summary

Making It Work is an Indigenous focused community-based research study focused on integrated community services for people living with HIV, hepatitis C, and/or challenges with mental health or substance use. It is co-led by the Pacific AIDS Network and the AHA Centre, at CAAN. From a methodological perspective, Making It Work seeks to bridge Indigenous ways of knowing and doing and Indigenous research methodologies with Western academic RealistEvaluation methodology. The team has had many discussions about what this would look like and how it would work, and continue to do so. We envision our work as a kind of spiral, where everything we learn feeds into the next questions we seek to ask, and the information we glean from those questions then feeds into further questions, and so on. In addition to the three primary goals of the project, we are actively working to document what this methodological approach looks like and how we are building it as the project goes forward.

Initiative Objectives and Goals

We have three primary goals: to develop and implement an evidence-based evaluation plan for case management and community development programs across BC; to support capacity building in community-based research and evaluation methods for Peer Researchers, communities, and other stakeholders; and to highlight how Indigenous service delivery models can inform services for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people accessing services.

The Role of this Initiative to End the HIV Epidemic

Making It Work explores the relationship between improved outcomes and cultural safety, case management and community development by developing an understanding of how service providers adapt case management and programming to “make them work” in ways that are culturally safe for the people they serve.

Meaningful Engagement with People with Lived Experience

The process was collaborative and inclusive. The communities in which the research took place were full partners in all stages of the process. Community-based research seeks to democratize knowledge by recognizing and valuing the unique strengths and perspectives of all members involved in the research process.

Key performance indicators

Key audiences

Service providers, peer evaluators, service users, communities and other stakeholders

Start Date
January 18, 2021
July 2022



The importance of dialogue and spending time to discuss things from different perspectives has been evident in integrating Realist Evaluation into our project. This process has been one of capacity bridging between members of our research team with different life experience, and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous team members. Having people come together with different knowledge and world views and spending the time to develop our research methods using ‘both eyes’, or ways of seeing—without one eye being dominant over the other—has allowed us a wealth of information to build into our understanding. Part of coming together as a team with different experiences and knowledge has meant we have needed to be clear with our language and had to define concepts well. We have done this in team discussion sand have made a “key definitions” document to help guide our work.

Related knowledge transfer and exchange(KTE) products and resources are available on the PAN site.