What kinds of questions worked well? Not so well? Where did I conduct the interview? What in the environment affected my interview? Did my subject want to talk? How did I encourage my subject to talk? What "masks" did my subject wear?
Did my subject drop the masks? When did I tell my subject the purpose of the interview and how it would be used? Did my plans to use the interview seem to matter to the subject? How accurate were my subject's memories?
How accurate was my subject's reporting of her memories? How do I know? Does it matter? Who controlled the interview? How did I feel while interviewing? How did my subject feel while being interviewed? Would it be useful and possible to return for another interview? How do these results affect my original goals?
Do I need to adjust my research design? When I transcribe, will I write exactly what was said or will I begin light editing right from the start? How will I decide what to write and what not to write? How can I ensure that the transcription is accurate? How can I ensure that the transcription reports what the subject wanted to say?
Who owns the interview and has the right to decide how the completed interview and transcription will be used? So if you want to learn about another culture, country, era, etc. Oral history involves interviewing a person or group to get an inside perspective into what it was like to live in a particular time or is like to live as the member of a particular group within a society.
We can also learn more about the experiences of groups from all sections of society, including the ones whose experience is not always thoroughly known or well documented, such as the working class, ethnic or religious minorities, or women.
When professors use oral history projects in classes, they usually ask you to interview only one or two people. The interview stage of the process requires effective question-making and interviewing skills. Usually, the project consists of taking raw material from an interview and shaping it into an essay. This step requires you to make some decisions about how you want to present the material and analytical skill to help you interpret what you learn.
Who uses oral history projects and why Fields in which you might be assigned an oral history paper include history, anthropology, and other disciplines that study the experiences of specific social groups such as women or ethnic groups.
The goals of these fields affect the ways they use this kind of project: History: Historians use evidence to understand the experiences of people in the past.
Oral history can be a valuable source of evidence for understanding the experiences of individuals or groups within a certain historical period. Oral testimony cannot replace analysis of traditional historical materials official documents, letters, newspapers, secondary sources, etc. Folklore: Folklorists study culture as it is expressed in everyday life and often use oral history projects to gather materials to preserve and study.
Anthropology: An archeologist might use oral history to learn more about the lifeways of peoples who have living descendants or to locate sites for archeological excavation. A cultural anthropologist might use oral history as a way to understand how individuals think of themselves in relation to the rest of the world.
This technique can help anthropologists understand how culture shapes individuals either consciously or unconsciously, on the one hand, and the ways that individuals contribute to the production of culture, on the other hand.
Dominant cultures have a tendency not to notice or acknowledge the experiences of certain subgroups, viewing them as peripheral rather than central—in other words, marginalizing them. Academic fields have emerged to explore the experiences of marginalized groups, and these fields tend to value experiential knowledge.
Oral history projects can be a way of accessing such knowledge. Preparing for the interview Before the interview, familiarize yourself with the history and characteristics of the culture your interviewee is from.
Some interviews may be fairly unstructured, with only general guidance from you. For instance, you may just choose some topics to discuss, allowing the interviewee to lead the way. Ritchie, D. Doing oral history 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press. Whitmann, G. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services.
See also:. Start with the question followed by a summary and analysis of the questions and answers. Interview Essay vs. Research Paper Interview essays allow you to use people as your sources rather than books. What is especially helpful in this sort of paper is that you are able to get a first-person viewpoint on a subject, whether this is about a person's life or something in which they are an expert.
Make the Essay Meaningful: These sorts of papers can be especially meaningful if you write them about family members or interview people who do a job or activity you would like to try yourself. While people often interview actors, musicians, or politicians, excellent essays can be written by talking to ordinary people.
Essays that record the life history of ordinary people are called oral history. What is friendship? Pick a Good Question: You will be asking a particular question about a topic of your choice to several different people.
Generally, you will want to choose a topic which is arguable — this means a topic in which there are varying opinions. Ask the Question and Give the Person Time to Answer and Explain: What makes this different from a survey is that you will give the person an opportunity to explain their answer. Often the interview works better if the question asks something most people have an opinion about. Ask Follow-Up Questions: In trying to get more information about why people think the way they do on the topic, you will ask follow-up questions.
You should not ask the same follow-up questions to every person. Instead, you will let your conversation with the person guide you as you develop more questions that are pertinent to the particular conversation.When directly quoting from a lasting, do not isolate the quotation. The depreciate should be at least 6 hours in length, typed, double-spaced, 12 point erin, preferably Times New Roman font, one-inch missteps, no extra spaces between words. Whether or not you develop to use secondary sources is often a matter of what the assignment topics for.
Ideally, your two interviews will be parallel in order to allow for best comparisons, but I warn you that this will not be the case because of the variant directions that interviews inevitably take.
Would it be useful and possible to return for another interview?
Moyer, Judith. As an example, newspaper accounts contemporary with events often suffer from historical inaccuracy because of the ideological slants of reporters and editorial staff, because of the availability of sources, because of advertisers' interests, and because of the need to sell interesting stories that the public wants to buy. You need to do a lot of thinking on your feet, mainly by gauging whether they are comfortable with certain topics, whether they want to talk more, move on, etc. What would I do differently? Does it matter?
They mumble incoherently and use wrong names. Often the interview works better if the question asks something most people have an opinion about. Who owns the interview and has the right to decide how the completed interview and transcription will be used?
Making assumptions about the person may damage trust and skew the essay you write. In recalling memories from a long-ago event, how closely do the memories of the narrator approximate a true rendering of the actual experience?
If we understand the characteristics of our sources, however, we have a better chance of controlling the process to minimize inaccuracies. Then use these topics to help you decide whether you want to organize the essay by the sequence of your questions or by topics that emerged as you reviewed your notes. What kinds of questions worked well? Did my subject drop the masks? The goals of these fields affect the ways they use this kind of project: History: Historians use evidence to understand the experiences of people in the past. Write in complete sentences.
You will turn in the following, all together, in a big envelope, with your name clearly marked on each component: The paper According to university research rules, you will need to have each of your interview subjects sign a consent form. For websites, please write the entire address in the bibliographic entry. Which school subject is most important to learn? Name: First and last. Explain to them the purpose of the recording, and you may want to offer them a copy or the original — I will return the recordings to you.
How will I decide what to write and what not to write? Longer projects allow students to complete more of the oral history process that leads to more usable historical sources. Do not conduct interviews longer than 90 minutes at a time.
Your introduction should say a few things about who the person is and name some of the recurring themes or issues to prepare the reader to notice those in the body of the essay.
Urge them to ignore the equipment as much as possible. Analyze the opinions by asking the following questions and making notes for yourself: Is this a positive or negative reason? Even in the absence of written documentation, groups such as women, minorities, and the not-famous have been able to record their own histories and the histories of those they consider important using oral history. What does "beauty" or art, family, democracy, freedom, friend, etc. How is the transcriber to put spoken words onto paper with a semblance of written coherence without changing the narrator's meaning?
One of the goals of transcribing interviews is to give readers a sense of the interview—how was it formatted, was it formal or informal, did the interviewer ask a lot of questions or did the interview subject do most of the talking with just a few prompts, what language and speaking style did the participants use? What historical event in your lifetime affected you the most? If you answered D. Your introduction should say a few things about who the person is and name some of the recurring themes or issues to prepare the reader to notice those in the body of the essay. For instance, learning how the person felt about major life events might help you understand how your interviewee sees his or her life as a whole.