What Is Oral History? All the Concepts You Need to Know

What Is Oral History?

Oral history is, arguably, the oldest and simplest form of history. From the practice of humans passing information from one generation to the other, oral history has been in play longer than you might probably imagine. Being such a crucial source of information, it has since become an integral part of learning. But how much do you know about oral history? The fact that history is predicated on narrative history reiterates the importance of understanding it. In this blog, our history assignment experts will delve into the concepts you need to understand. They also help with history homework, resources, and exams.

What is Oral History?

While there are many definitions, oral history can generally be defined as recording and preserving historical information narrated by the source by word of mouth. While it is true that oral history is the oldest form of history, it is also true that it is the most modern. The modernization of oral history came with tape recorders (1940s) and the initiation of modern technology in the 21st century.

There are several forms of oral history. For example, the case of a witness telling a story of what they saw while it is recorded. The other forms include myths, folklore, songs, and other stories inherited from one generation to another by word of mouth. Narrative history mainly records the events, practices, and culture of minority communities that may not appear in formal history.

What is Oral History: The Importance of Oral History?

There are many benefits of oral history that you cannot run short of.  These are some:

Oral History Provides Insight on Past Events

Through narrative history, we can get a good understanding of past occurrences. These events are evidenced by records, data, pictures, maps, etc.

Oral History Gives Us an Image of The Past as Compared with The Present

Through narrative history, we can understand the account of events and practices in the past. Consequently, we can compare these events and practices with the present ones. From this comparison, we can determine what changed and what didn’t.

Oral History Is a Connection of the Past, Present and Future

Oral history allows us to view ourselves in the prisms of the past. In the same way, future generations will view their lives through the lens of our times and the times before us. This will be thanks to the preserved records from narrative history.

We Can Understand What People and Communities Experienced Due to Historical Events

Interviewing is a major methodology in oral history. Through such interviews, we can understand what individuals and groups experienced because of events that happened in the past. We can also learn how such experiences impacted their lives.

The What is the Methodology of Oral History Interviewing

The most common and effective way of getting information is through interviews. It involves asking questions to individuals or groups of people about what they witnessed and experienced. But how do you get the most out of an interview? Without the best approach before, during, and after the interview, you may not be able to achieve much. Our experts have sampled the best interviewing practices in narrative history. 

Expert Tips on How to Prepare for An Oral History Interview

Make Clarifications: Before you commence the interviews as an interviewer, determine specifics such as the purpose of the interview, target narrators and how you will find them, how your interview will be used in the future, and many more.

How to Choose Your Narrators: Pick your interview narrators based on the experience they have that is related to your topic; however, be keen to diversify the voices.

 Conduct Background Studies: Before the interview, learn more about your narrator, their culture, and how it relates to your topic. Also, gather as much information as possible about the historical time you are studying.

Set The Date, Venue, Time, and Duration of the Interview: Ensure all your narrators are comfortable with these logistics to avoid any inconvenience.

Get Your Narrators to Give You a Deed Gift: This document describes how the narrators would like you to handle rights or materials to be transferred or donated. If the narrator signs on the deed gift, you can use it for free.

Need to Understand What Is Narrative History?

Narrative history is both the oldest and most modern form of history. Folklore, stories, songs, and myths characterize ancient history. In the wake of the 21st century, history was modernized in the form of tape recording and the use of technologies. Interviews have been known to be the best method to collect and record information in history. The information collected serves many purposes. Among these purposes is connecting the future to the present and the past and, most importantly, the account of past happenings. Do you have any assignments on oral history? Seek help from our history experts. They will help you to complete assignments and exams.

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