Oral History Methods

Tutor: Sabine Clarke

Module type: MA Skills

Module code: HIS00108M

Credits: 10

The module provides students with an introduction to oral history concepts and methods. Students will learn about some of the different ways in which oral history research has been conducted, and about of the unique possibilities and challenges which it presents. The course will address both philosophical and practical concerns that arise from research that draws upon oral history.

Students will learn how to plan, conduct, transcribe, and curate oral history interviews, and about the issues associated with ethics and data protection; they will also consider how different interviewing techniques might produce different kinds of data. They will learn how to oral history is, and might be used within the context of both academic and public history.

The provisional programme is as follows:

Week 1: Briefing (1 hour)
Week 2: Context/theory seminar: Oral history and historical memory (2 hours)
Week 3: Practical workshop I: Creating and curating oral histories (4 hours)
Week 4: Practical workshop II: Using (and abusing) oral histories (4 hours)
Weeks 5-8: Independent project work
Week 8: Project Mini-Conference (3 hours)

Preliminary Reading 

  • Thompson, Paul. The Voice of the Past: Oral History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Frisch, Michael. A Shared Authority: Essays on the Craft and Meaning of Oral and Public History. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990.
  • Perks, Robert and Alistair Thomson (eds). The Oral History Reader. London: Routledge, 2006.


For more information, please refer to the module catalogue.