Module Identifier HY32520  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Owen G Roberts  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Mr Owen Roy Collins  
Mutually Exclusive HY32820 , HY33420 , HY34820 , HY34320 , HY34620 , HY34520 , HA33320 , HY34720 , HY32720  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   10 x 2 hour seminars 2 x 15 minute tutorials for feedback on written work 1 x 30 minute planning tutorial  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 1 PRE-INTERVIEW PROPOSAL (1,500 WORD)  20%
Semester Assessment 3 X 500 WORD PIECES RELATING TO 2 INTERVIEWS  20%
Semester Assessment 1 PROJECT (5,000 WORDS)  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

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.


The module will introduce students to the methodology and theory of oral history. It aims to equip second year students with a practical experience of interview technique. Issues regarding the legality and ethics of research, the part played by historians in source creation and analysis, and the unique benefits and limitations of memory will be developed in the context of a practical assessment.


Two hour seminars:

1) Introduction to Oral History
2) Project Design
3) Interview Techniques of Oral History
4) Ethics and Oral History
5) Memory and Oral History
6) Transcription and Oral History
7) Understanding Memory
8) Project Update
9) Analyzing Interviews
10) Group Presentations

Two tutorials of 15 minutes, primarily for giving feedback on written work. Also, project planning tutorial of 30 minutes.

Module Skills

Problem solving Locating interviewees, assessing interviews, managing time and project.  
Research skills Seminar discussion and essay-writing. The Latter is formally assessed.  
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.  
Team work Students will work together in seminar preparation and discussion. Access to limited recording equipments will encourage collaboration.  
Information Technology Locating source materials and surveying the historiography on the subject using various search tools.  
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.  


This module is at CQFW Level 6