The Interviewee’s Story
I urge you to present your interview in a “story” format rather than a verbatim Q&A from the interview. Use quotations to illustrate parts of the story. Because the interview will have covered much more than can be presented in the paper, you should extract the highlights of the interview.
Although you are telling a person’s story, remember to contextualize or explain historical events and other things which the reader may not be familiar with. You may footnote these things or include them in text depending your presentation of the material. For example, if they are talking about their experiences as braceros, or marielitos you would want to explain these concepts by telling us their historical significance. Or if they are talking about fiestas, etc., tell us why they are important and explain what these fiestas are about within the context of your interview. If they are talking about particular immigration laws, programs, explain what these were. Etc.
Sometimes you may have to ask your interviewee more questions about events, places, and people, after your interview so that you can make clear their story. Remember that you must think about your reader who does not know who this person is. You want to make sense of their experiences and convey it in a meaningful way.
Your Oral History should have the following attributes:
- Introduction is concise, effective, original and appropriate — The who, what, when and where of the interview. The students should provide a summary of the focus of the interview, a description of the perspective of the interviewee, the location of the interview and a lead or ‘hook’ into the content of the interview. The important thing is that even if you are telling “their” story, it should be organized around a theme or idea that is spelled out in the introduction. All stories have theses around which they are framed.
- Transcript should reflect non-judgment on the part of interviewee, respect for interviewee, and interviewee’s engagement with question (i.e. their thoughts, perspectives, stories)
- Significant editing is demonstrated between text and transcript:
- text retains strong voice of interviewee
- text focuses on topic; doesn’t ramble
- text details as well as concrete details
- text meets guidelines
- writing is flawless; no typos, spelling, mechanical, grammar errors
- Appendix reflects engagement with oral history and course content — Please describe what you learned from the oral history. Address observations made and new perspectives learned. You might address how what you learned complements or differs from what you’ve learned through your readings.
Oral History Assessment Rubric
|Storytelling||The wiki narrative is very thorough. The narrative accurately portrays the story of the oral history subject. Selections are very wisely chosen to reveal the deepest and most powerful moments in the oral history.||The wiki narrative is somewhat thorough. The narrative accurately portrays the story of the oral history subject. Selections are chosen well to reveal some of the deepest and most powerful moments in the oral history.||The wiki narrative covers some information from the interview. The narrative appears to portray the story of the oral history subject. The reader has insight into at least one deep or powerful moment in the oral history.||The wiki narrative covers very little information from the interview. The write-up inaccurately portrays the story of the oral history subject. The reader has little insight into anything powerful that occurred in the oral history.|
|Language (voice, word choice, sentence fluency)||Narrative is written in clear, easily understood language that is the author’s own. Word choice is engaging and all culturally specific vocabulary/references are clearly explained.||Narrative is written is somewhat clear language that is the author’s own. Word choice is relatively straightforward and most culturally specific vocabulary/references is clearly explained. Sentence structure is varied but is sometime choppy.||Narrative is written is somewhat confusing language that is the author’s own. Word choice is sometimes unhelpful and confusing and culturally specific vocabulary/references is often left unexplained. Sentence structure is unvaried and often choppy.||Narrative is written in confusing language that sometimes seems not to be the author’s own. Word choice is unhelpful and confusing and culturally specific vocabulary/references is often left unexplained. Sentence structure is unvaried and choppy.|
|Question Design||Questions are deep, thorough, appropriate, well-phrased, thoughtful, and well-ordered. It is clear that the student has put considerable energy into designing powerful questions.||Questions are somewhat thorough, appropriate, well-phrased, thoughtful, and well-ordered.||Questions cover some areas, are appropriate, decently-phrased, and have some order.||Questions are poorly constructed, poorly ordered, and do not cover a considerable number of important areas. The student put a limited amount of effort into crafting questions.|
|Notes and release form||Release form completed and posted by presentation night. Complete accurate transcript is posted to the wiki.||Release form completed and posted by presentation night. Transcript is fairly thorough and well organized, and is posted to the wiki.||Transcript is somewhat organized, but has some considerable gaps., and was posted to the wiki.||In incomplete release form was posted. Transcript was incomplete, disorganized and messy.|
|Recording||The audio file was well done and clear.||The audio file was well done for most of its length with a few weak places.||The audio file was poorly done and hardly acceptable.||The audio file was poorly done and of little value.|
|Reflections||Appendix conveys the writer’s impressions of their oral history subject and their experience taking the oral history in an insightful, revealing, and thorough manner.||Appendix conveys the writer’s impressions of their experience taking the oral history in a somewhat insightful, revealing, and thorough manner.||Appendix conveys some of the writer’s impressions of their experience taking the oral history. However, it seems as though the writer has not taken the time to make this section thorough or insightful.||Appendix conveys very little of the writer’s impressions of their oral history subject and their experience taking the oral history.|
|Resources & documentation||The narrative shows extensive use of a variety of information sources which have been cited in a bibliography.||The narrative shows the use of several sources of information which have been cited in a bibliography.||The narrative shows very little variety in the sources of information which have been cited in a bibliography.||None of the course materials or outside resources were used in the narrative, or the resources were not cited in the bibliography.|
|Wiki Design||The pages show insight, depth and understanding.The content, links, files, media and images are relevant and connected to the subject’s story.The wiki clearly addresses the project objectives.Information sources are acknowledged in a suitable format.||Pages show some depth of insight and understanding.The content has relevant links or images and the links or images may be referred to.The wiki addresses the project objectives.Information sources are acknowledged.||Simple page(s) which shows some depth or level of storytelling.Entries are short and for the most part relevant to the story.
Some sections of content are cut and paste for the transcript or show superficial rewriting.The page attempts to address the project objectives.Information sources are mentioned.
|Simple page which lacks insight, depth or is superficial.Most sections are of content are cut and paste from the transcript or show superficial rewriting.Language used is not representative of the subject’s story.|
General Citation Guidelines
Citing Sources in the Main Body of Your Story
Books, chapters in edited volumes, journal articles, newspaper articles, and even websites, typically have one or more authors. They also have publication dates, specifically, a year of publication. Unless it is a website, they also have numbered pages. In the main body of your essay, you refer to a source in your list of References (bibliography) in the following manner:
(Smith 1992: 58).
You have seen this format numerous times in your assigned course readings and I am expecting that you will be very familiar with this by now.
To refer to a source within the body of an essay, you would insert the following at the end of a sentence, or where it is most appropriate before the end of a sentence—for example:
The observation that traditions in this community have been subjected to degrees of politicization is relatively commonplace (Smith 1992: 58).
[What this does is to tell me that Smith, whose work was published in 1992, states on page 58 of that publication that these observations have now become commonplace. Note that the period comes after the citation.]
Listing Sources Cited in Your References Section
At the end of your essay, you must have a section titled References or Bibliography—where you only list items that you have actually used for writing the essay, and which have been cited in your essay.
Please use the following as a guideline for formatting individual entries in your References section:
- Here is how a book would be listed: Smith, Peter. (1989).
The Personal Memoirs of Peter Smith. New York: Great Unknown Press.
- A chapter by one author in a volume edited by someone else:
Smith, Peter. (1992). “In Defense of the Indefensible.” In John A. Gow (Ed.), Treatises in Political Science, 55-75. London: Routledge.
[the chapter title is in quotation marks, the book title is in italics, and the pages covered by the chapter are provided after the title, after a comma.]
- An article in a journal:
Smith, Peter. (1995). “Review of Political Anthropology.” American Anthropologist, 58(2): 39-48.
[the title is in quotation marks; the word “IN” does not precede the journal’s name, which is in italics; the volume number is 58, the issue number is 2—the issue number is always inside brackets and there is no space between 58 and (2). To indicate the pages taken up by the article in that issue, insert a colon, and then the page range.]