How did who I am as an interviewer influence the oral history offered?

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  1. Oral History Exercise

Oral history is a sociological research method used to capture individual perspectives, and untold histories. We will use this exercise to collect unknown stories of social movement involvement, and strategy. We will then collectively analyze these oral histories to test current theories on social movement mobilization and strategy.

The Task – Collect a thirty minute oral history from someone who has been active in a social movement. This might be a family friend involved in struggles in the past – in Canada or elsewhere, a friend involved in campaigning, or someone else. You can either take detailed notes, or record the interview and then transcribe it.


  1. Transcribe the oral history

Introduce the oral history with the name of the interviewer, the date of the interview, the location and a brief biography of the individual.

Use models of existing oral histories to format this. 

  1. Follow the oral history with a written reflection (4 – 6 pages double spaced) that answers the following questions.
  2. How did who I am as an interviewer influence the oral history offered?
  3. How did the time, date or location of the interview influence the oral history offered?
  4. What did I notice when transcribing that I didn’t notice while doing the interview?
  5. What processes tied to social movements were described during the oral history (for this refer to three concepts from the course, and cite the author of that concept)
  6. What do I wish I had asked?
  7. Who would I interview next in order to understand the history revealed during this interview?

The oral history will be peer graded by two other randomly selected students in the class, and then reviewed by me. The final grade will be given by me, taking the earlier evaluations into account. The oral history assignment will be graded for:

Rubric for grading

– Quality of oral history data

o Format – name of the interviewer, the date of the interview, the location and a brief biography of the individual /10

o Quality of transcription – detail  /15

– Reflection

o thoughtful and clear answers to the questions listed in C /10

o including the effective and correct reference to at least three concepts from the course /10

o grammar, spelling /5

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