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This guide will assist students in Prof. Borgia's WGST 1100 course with their oral history paper.

Understanding Oral History

What is oral history?

  • Oral history is the systematic collection of living people's testimony about their own experiences. Oral history is not folklore, gossip, hearsay, or rumor.Oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyze them, and place them in an accurate historical context. Oral historians are also concerned with storage of their findings for use by later scholars. (Do
  • Oral history is the recording of people’s memories, experiences and opinions. It is a living history of everyone’s unique life experiences,
    • An opportunity for those people who have been ‘hidden from history’ to have their voice heard
    • A rare chance to talk about and record history face-to-face
    • A source of new insights and perspectives that may challenge our view of the past. (Oral History Society UK)
  • Oral history refers both to a method of recording and preserving oral testimony and to the product of that process. It begins with an audio or video recording of a first person account made by an interviewer with an interviewee (also referred to as narrator), both of whom have the conscious intention of creating a permanent record to contribute to an understanding of the past. A verbal document, the oral history, results from this process and is preserved and made available in different forms to other users, researchers, and the public. A critical approach to the oral testimony and interpretations are necessary in the use of oral history. (Oral History Association)

Resources About Oral History and the Interview Process