Wednesday, 3 June 2015
Interviewing for Education and Social Science Research: The Gateway Approach,
Carolyn Lunsford Mears, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009, page 56
Oral history relies on in-depth interviews to find out what happened.
An oral history interview asks individuals to talk about their life experiences, to tell their own story without being subjected to interrogation requiring confirmable details of cognitive recall or demanding absolute content accuracy.
Hearsay, opinion and even errors are considered useful in oral sources!
Indeed, the purposes of oral history is to ask individuals who have shared some experience, location or moment in time to tell their stories and the meanings they take from them.
Meaning, which is an individual-relative component, is as much a part of that person's story as the facts, which in turn, they may recall from their point of view - complete with errors - when asked. What matters iswhat the narrator says:
Itr is assumed that what they choose to tell is what they consider most important and relevent to the questions that are asked.