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Oral History

Oral history uses audio- or video-recorded interviews to preserve firsthand memories, accounts, and interpretations of a person's life, an event, a place, a way of life, or a period. Interview recordings, typed transcripts, and supporting materials are preserved and made available to researchers through an archive. The use of oral history as a historical methodology dates as far back as Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. What differentiates oral history from all other historical sources is the voice that is captured on the ever-evolving recording devices that became more readily available in the last half of the twentieth century. Like all historical sources, oral history sources should be treated with skepticism and validated by other types of evidence.

As an educational methodology, oral history allows ...

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