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Bobbie Oliver School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts.

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Presentation on theme: "Bobbie Oliver School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bobbie Oliver School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts

2 Different types of interview; Interview structure Ways of using oral material in scholarly research; Using interviews in case studies.

3 Projects that used interviews: ◦ Masters thesis (18 interviews) ◦ Hospice History (36 interviews) ◦ History of conscientious objectors (8 interviews); ◦ History of the ALP in WA (23 interviews). ◦ Midland Railway Workshops project (200 hours of interviews collected over 5 years) ◦ East Perth Power Station History (3 interviews) ◦ Locomotive Engine Drivers’ Union (21 people in single face-to-face, group and phone interviews)

4 ‘Oral history’ – but interviewing is a method used by many disciplines. Oral history is a ‘record of information, usually on tape, as the result of a planned interview’. The planned interview and the dynamic between two people form the basis of oral history. Its purpose is to enlarge our understanding of a certain period of time. Ruth Park used the phrase, “The past was somebody else’s present”. One of the great joys and part of the magic of oral history is the way people are transported back into that past which was their present, and see things as they saw them then’. [Rosemary Block]

5 In your discipline, what are some of the reasons for undertaking an interview?

6 [Oral History] … refers both to what the historians hear (the oral sources) and to what the historians say or write. On a more cogent plane, it refers to what the source and the historian do together at the moment of their encounter in the interview. Alessandro Portelli

7 that any interview (in isolation) is just a fragment, a small piece in the mosaic of your research. It can be built upon by subsequent interviews with the same person or different people who are ‘related’ in some way (by means of family ties, work place, skills, time and place, or other common experiences) but it is so subject to change, that it needs careful handling.

8 concerns the degree of serendipity of choice in selecting which parts of the interview best suit the point you are arguing in your research – although it would appear that logic is the strongest reason for choice.

9 Workshop Exercise 2: Interview You are required to interview another class member about a place where he or she lived as a child. 1. Spend 5 minutes thinking about the questions you will ask. 2. Form pairs 3. Each person to spend 5minutes interviewing the other 4. Feedback (6 mins total)– reflect upon: How you felt about the questions you asked/were asked. Would/should you have asked different questions? Did any of the questions surprise you? Were you satisfied with the answers you received/gave?

10 ‘Life story’ interviews. ‘Specialist knowledge’ interviews (e.g. hospice history) Testing a theory (e.g. Reekie)

11 What is the ‘truth’? What is said when you’re NOT recording it. Why are some people reticent about particular issues?

12 Workshop Exercise 3 (10 mins) Read the extract on ‘Initiation Ceremonies at the Midland Workshops’. (5 mins) Find examples of differing opinions. Where do these accounts agree? Is this a matter of ‘truth’ and ‘untruth’, differing memories, differing experiences or other factors? How would you negotiate these differences if you were writing an account using these sources ?

13 How to begin? How important is being a good listener? What are the issues? Is it ‘persuading people to tell you things that they don’t want to tell you?’ Not about listening to interviewer. Supportive, interested, non-judgmental. Help the interviewee establish what your view is on this subject. Valid questions? Responsible decisions?

14 Type 1: The analytical approach. Type 2: The problem-oriented method.

15 Would the use of interviews and/or case studies benefit your research project? Would a case study be a means of addressing research objectives and contributing to the richness of your text? Discuss some examples of projects, and whether they would benefit from the interview/case study technique?

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