Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Oral History: the Past in the Present
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 9 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Oral Assessment  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word essay  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 5,000 word project  60%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1 - 1 x 1,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  20%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2 - 1 x 1,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  20%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 5,000 word supplementary (resit) project  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate familiarity with basic methodological and theoretical principles of oral history.

Demonstrate an awareness of the power relationship inherent within interviews, and negotiate the resulting ethical implications.

Appreciate the subjectivity of both source and historian, reflecting critically on their own motives, preconceptions and historical bias.

Read, analyse and reflect critically on texts, both oral and written.

Work both independently and collaboratively, and to participate in group discussions (not assessed).

Demonstrate writing styles other than the formal academic essay, (interview agendas, editing, transcription etc.).

Brief description

During this module students will be interviewing Aberystwyth Alumni as part of the university's Aber Remembered Oral History Project. It will equip students with a range of skills required to design, conduct and analyse an oral history project. This module will develop students' critical awareness of memory as a historical source, its contested status and changing uses from the 1950s. It will introduce a broader understanding of what constitutes history, for whom and why it is written, and the conflicting ways historians and other disciplines have shaped this process. Though firsthand experience students will face the challenges of combining theory and practice. The duty of care oral historians owe to their informants will underscore the module. Investigation of the power dynamics within the interview relationship will illuminate wider responsibilities historians have to source, society, and the past. Finally, issues of presentation and authorship will provide an insight into the constraints historians impose on their sources and scholarship.


To introduce students to the methodology of oral history.
To teach students how to plan, conduct and complete an oral history project.
To explore the methodological and ethical issues raised by the use of memory and oral testimony in historical study.
To consider the ways in which oral testimony can be employed in historical explanation.


10 weekly two-hour seminars
1. Introduction to Oral History
2. Project Design
3. Interview Techniques of Oral History
4. Ethics and Oral History
5. Legality of Oral History
6. Memory and Oral History
7. Transcription and Oral History
8. Analyzing Interviews
9. Project Update
10. Review and Reflection on Interviewing Process

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Interviewing and assessing source materials. Assessed through recordings, interview summary, interview log and transcription.
Improving own Learning and Performance Written work will be returned in tutorials where advice will be given on improving students' research and interview techniques. Key to this process of self-reflection will be peer evaluation in an active learning environment.
Personal Development and Career planning This module will help develop communication and writing skills. Other activities, including research, assessment of information and writing in a critical and clear manner, will further develop skills of analysis and presentation. Studying this module puts students directly in contact with people outside the university setting, and demystifies the process primary research.
Problem solving Contextualising interview, assessing interviews, managing time and project.
Research skills Seminar discussion and essay-writing. The Latter is formally assessed.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Students will work together in seminar preparation and discussion. Access to limited recording equipments will encourage collaboration.


This module is at CQFW Level 6