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Oral history interviews

In recording oral history, the distinction between remembering and forgetting plays a crucial role. The interviewer determines how much a person being interviewed remembers through using different exploration techniques. At times, the remembrance of the events may be affected by the tip of the tongue, which is the inability to name the memory one has in their mind especially if the narrator’s age has progressed. The narrator may opt to forget some events due to the emotions evoked within by those memories. Therefore, it is upon the interviewer to listen attentively, and ask questions that will ensure the narrator opens up, and narrates all events including those that are forgettable. The narrator events should be reliable when recorded in history interview and should coincide with the events.

Oral history is the collection of information of past events that took place from the people who participated or were part of the event and still recall the events. The date is collected using audiotapes, transcriptions or video tapes for documenting it for future generations. The narrators should be reliable to ensure that the history documented is the real events that took place in the past. The interviewer should be patient with the narrators, since the narrator maybe affected by the tip of the tongue and take longer to recount the exact details. The narrator remembers the memories according to the sensory experiences they had. The interviewer should carry with him pictures or documents to assist the narrator in remembering the past.

Oral history interview is considered a conversational narrative that consists of different structures that are related to each other with the intention of easier interpretation and understanding. It is a narrative because it is an interaction of the interviewer and the narrator. The narrator and the interviewer establish a relationship that is based on the interviewer listening to what the narrator has to say and, on the other hand, the narrator depends on the interviewer to relay the events to the people. Without narration and conversation, oral history cannot be recorded for future use.

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