Publications & Reports

Inclusion of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in COVID-19 Public Health Research: Research Design Adaptations to Seek Different Perspectives in Victoria, Australia.

Gibbs L, Thomas AJ, Coelho A, Al-Qassas A, Block K, Meagher N, Eisa L, Fletcher-Lartey S, Ke T, Kerr P, Kwong EJL, MacDougall C, Malith D, Marinkovic Chavez K, Osborne D, Price DJ, Shearer F, Stoové M, Young K, Zhang Y, Gibney KB, Hellard M
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia.


Participation of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in public health research is often limited by challenges with recruitment, retention and second-language data collection. Consequently, people from CALD communities are at risk of their needs being marginalised in public health interventions. This paper presents intrinsic case analyses of two studies which were adapted to increase the cultural competence of research processes. Both cases were part of the Optimise study, a major mixed methods research study in Australia which provided evidence to inform the Victorian state government’s decision-making about COVID-19 public health measures. Case study 1 involved the core Optimise longitudinal cohort study and Case study 2 was the CARE Victorian representative survey, an Optimise sub-study. Both case studies engaged cultural advisors and bilingual staff to adjust the survey measures and research processes to suit target CALD communities. Reflexive processes provided insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the inclusive strategies. Selected survey results are provided, demonstrating variation across CALD communities and in comparison to participants who reported speaking English at home. While in most cases a gradient of disadvantage was evident for CALD communities, some patterns were unexpected. The case studies demonstrate the challenge and value of investing in culturally competent research processes to ensure research guiding policy captures a spectrum of experiences and perspectives.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Published: 28/01/2023
  • Volume: 20
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 2320