Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the idea that, in the last few decades, collaborative inquiry methods have evolved along a similar trajectory to dual lens research. Dual lens research, known in various contexts as both ways, two-eyed seeing Old Ways New Ways, and Koodjal Jinnung (looking both ways), is designed to generate new knowledge by exploring a theme through Aboriginal and contemporary western lenses. Participatory action research and a dual lens approach are considered in a number of projects with a particular focus on the issues such work can raise including conceptual challenges posed by fundamental differences between knowledge sets. Design/methodology/approach: The authors hypothesize that a dual lens approach will become a branch of participatory action research, as such, a robust description needs to be developed and its ethical implications are considered. Existing work in this direction, including principles and processes, are collated and discussed. Findings: Dual lens research as a branch of participatory action research is of great significance in countries with Aboriginal populations that are undergoing a cultural renaissance. As dual lens practitioners, the authors are finding their research outputs have a high positive impact on both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations and make a genuine contribution to reconciliation by finding ways of going forward together. Originality/value: This paper joins a growing body of research that supports resonances between Aboriginal and “western” research methods.