Oral history

Oral History: Interview process
Step 1:

Way 1

Choose a theme.
Create a question guide that fits the theme. Select or modify questions that are relevant to the person you are interviewing and the context of the interview.
During an interview, the story that the person tells you may raise follow up questions within you. If those questions are relevant to the theme, purpose, and context of your interview, ask those questions.

Way 2

The person being interviewed can begin to tell his or her story freely within the given theme. Then, as needed, you can ask questions from the prepared interview guide.

Be aware:

  • The questions to be prepared should be open-ended questions. That is, the questions should not lead the interviewer to give yes or no answers. Or the questions should not lead to the person being interviewed to give a favourable answer.
  • Do not go into discussions. The story or information told by the interviewee may not be accepted by you as an interviewer.
  • You are only a listener and not a defender!
Step 2:

Do an oral history interview recording.

  • Direct interview or distance interview (online).
  • Audio interview or video interview

At the beginning of the oral history recording, the interviewer should say:

  • Date and day. (It is to prevent confusion in the date and day of an interview when writing an interview log.)
Step 3:
  • After making an oral history recording, the information in that recording must be verified and approved by the interviewee. The interviewee should get an opportunity to view and listen to the file.
  • It will be easier for him/her to give his/her consent for preservation after reviewing the recording.
  • If there are any edits, do them.
Step 4:
  • Create an edited publication version.
  • Send the publication version, its log and summary to the interviewee.
  • Get their signature on the consent form on how oral history can be used and preserved.
Step 5:
  • Find out how and where oral history recordings with open access can be made available for public access.
  • Make arrangements for storage and long-term preservation of the oral history recordings.

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