Oral History Project

KIN 370
Oral History Paper

 I provide this as an introduction to the paper due in the second half of the semester. You are always encouraged to discuss aspects of this handout or the assignment with me at any point throughout the quarter.
 As mentioned in the syllabus, you are asked to interview a woman, preferably someone with whom you are related to or know as a friend/acquaintance. This woman must be at least one generation older than you. From the information you gather through this oral history you are asked to place the individual’s life experiences (including sport or physical activity) in the context of the time period in question.  The syllabus also provides you with specific information about the paper such as the margins, font, and paper length requirements (rubric is on the syllabus).
 Suggested way to proceed:
1. Select someone to interview. In your initial contact with this person explain the course assignment to her, so that she is informed as to the intent of the interview/assignment/course. Make an appointment to interview the individual. At this point be sure to ask her if audio taping the interview is OK with her.  You will need to record the interview so that you can transcribe it.
2. The interview. Although you will have a list of possible questions don’t feel limited with the interview based on those questions. Allow the interview to move in a direction that seems natural to the interviewee, as long as it remains on target. If they choose to discuss an aspect of their life that you never thought of, that’s OK.
– Think of the interview as a conversation, not an interrogation.
 – I suggest that you start the interview by obtaining brief biographical information. What their parents did for a living, how many siblings they had, etc?  This will provide you with important contextual information that will help you write up the oral history paper.
– Ask open-ended questions. In other words, ask questions in a way that encourages folks to give you more than one-word answers. For example, instead of, “Was the Depression a difficult experience?” Re-phrase it to “Can you tell me a bit about living through the Depression?” Another example, “Did you play baseball on any fields that were in poor shape?” Instead “Tell me about the playing conditions on the various fields that you played?”
– If the person you are interviewing claims that she had little time for organized sport or simply weren’t interested as a child/young adult ask WHY! This could lead to very illuminating information.
 – Carefully assess if you are able to take a question a bit further. For example, in response to a question about competing against racial “minorities” the interviewee states, “no, we didn’t play against blacks, that wasn’t permitted.” Go ahead and explore this further, “How did you or other players feel about this policy?”
(Be sure to practice with your tape recorder. Make certain that you know how to use it, is the battery charged, etc) Trust me, there is nothing more discouraging than to play the tape back when you’ve arrived home only to discover that something went wrong and the interview did not get taped).
3. Transcribe the interview. This means to write up the contents of the interview making sure to include who said what.  When completed, read it over several times. Once you have transcribed the interview, you will begin to organize the interview by themes that emerge from the pages.
-At the top of your transcribed paper you should include the date and location of the interview.  The rest of the paper will look something like this:
Your name: Tell me a little bit about your family growing up.
Interviewees name: I grew up in a large but close-knit family.  I had five siblings two brothers and three sisters..
Single spaced with double space between statements made by interviewer and interviewee (as shown above).
 4. Begin to think about how you can move beyond description (who, what, where, when) and bring critical analysis to the paper. In other words, don’t simply describe what happened to this person, rather try to explain and make sense of their experiences by surrounding the information within a broader cultural context.
5. Writing the paper.
a). Obviously the introduction leads off. This tells the reader “the what” and “the why.” Your thesis statement will be included in this early part of the text. What do I argue in this paper? What is my major thrust/focus/point? After conducting and reviewing primary and secondary source materials you will have a much better sense of a thesis statement.  Your thesis statement should be at the end of this first paragraph and should show the larger connection between your interviewees experiences and the larger cultural context in which they occurred.  Your introduction should also introduce the reader to your subject (the person you interviewed by name).
b). You use the body of the paper to provide evidence in support of your thesis.  Remember this is an oral history paper, not a topic paper.  Your interviewees experiences should be the main focus and you should do the work to find academic sources that help to highlight how these experiences connect to the larger cultural contexts in which they occurred.
c). In the conclusion you re-state (reword) the thesis and the significance of the topic.
Due dates (and point totals) associated with the paper:
All assignments must be typed with proper format.
 1. Contact Info/Description/Interview Questions: Name the woman you are interviewing and a sentence or two description of your relationship with her. Please include a phone number or email address, so that I may contact this person if I choose. Also list your interview questions in the order you plan to ask them. You should have at least 14 questions to make sure you collect enough information.  Word your questions so the person would not be able to answer the question with just a one word response. Due: September 19 by 9:00 p.m. (5 points).  Submit this using the information under FNL PAPER.  Make sure to check before the deadline that your file was successfully uploaded. If you have difficulty you can e-mail it to me before the deadline. No late assignments are accepted.
2. Transcribed interview: Due: October 17 by 9:00 p.m. (10 points).  This should be a minimum of four full pages (see above for proper format) so that you will have enough information to construct a solid final paper.  Submit this using the information under FNL PAPER.  Make sure to check before the deadline that your file was successfully uploaded. If you have difficulty you can e-mail it to me before the deadline. No late assignments are accepted.
3. Paper due November 21 by 9:00 p.m. (30 points). I expect at least 8 different academic sources (these will also be included in in text citations and in the works cited) for the paper.  These academic sources can include those used in class but most likely will be sources that you will need to research to fit the life of the person you interviewed (again, only academic sources will count).  If you do use class sources, Schultz counts as one source (regardless of how many times you take information from the book).  Each lecture would count as a separate source. Make sure that your direct connections to academic sources are meaningful (in almost all cases connecting your persons experiences with the Puritans would not be meaningful). Academic sources are NOT websites that end in .com .  Submit this using the information under FNL PAPER. Make sure to check before the deadline that your file was successfully uploaded.  If you have difficulty you can e-mail it to me before the deadline.  Use APA reference style for this paper. No late assignments are accepted.
4. Presentation due December 6 by 9:00 pm (10 points).  You need to submit a video of you presenting your oral history project (just you not the person you interviewed). The presentation should be no shorter than 4 minutes and no longer than 6 minutes. In the presentation, you need to introduce your interviewee, state and explain your thesis, examine at least two major themes that emerged during your interview (during your discussion of the major themes provide some examples youre your interviewees experiences that came from the interview as well as provide connections with academic sources that help to explain the connection between your interviewees experiences and the larger cultural contexts in which they occurred, the provide a conclusion. You will use GoCreate to submit your video presentation.