This is the most important part of your paper in some respects.
Once a project is under way, we need to assess and ensure the accuracy of the data gathered. We have to face the question: At the very least, we must be aware of the limitations of oral history in order not to mislead ourselves into believing that oral history automatically yields accurate renditions of past events.
Because oral history depends upon living people as sources, we have limits; we can go back one lifetime. Because oral history uses spoken, not written sources, the allowable evidence expands. Even in the absence of written documentation, groups such as women, minorities, and the not-famous have been able to record their own histories and the histories of those they consider important using oral history.
History is no longer limited to the powerful, famous, and rich, and literate. Now history can give us a much more inclusive, and, one hopes, accurate picture of the past. Used to accurately record oral narratives, the inexpensive portable tape recorder helped democratize the gathering of history.
Interestingly, while technology in the form of the tape recorder is responsible in part for the spread of oral history techniques, technology is also to blame in part for the need for oral history. Rather than write letters, for instance, people travel to see each other or they make telephone calls that dissolve into air.
Now electronic mail via computers may make written records even more scarce. Trained to depend on written records, traditional historians have been known to shudder in horror at the potential problems and inherent weaknesses of oral history.
What of the failings of human memory? What of the human tendency to impose a narrative structure on events that may not be closely connected?
What of the self-serving motives of the story teller? What of the power relationships between interviewer and interviewee that affect what and how events are reported? What of the differences between the spoken and written word?
What of the inaccuracies that creep into meaning when trying to put a conversation onto paper? Well, many of the same problems arise in using written records.
Written sources can carry personal or social biases. Written sources occur within a social context. As an example, newspaper accounts contemporary with events often suffer from historical inaccuracy because of the ideological slants of reporters and editorial staff, because of the availability of sources, because of advertisers' interests, and because of the need to sell interesting stories that the public wants to buy.
Yet these same newspaper accounts can be used as historical evidence of people's attitudes and interpretations. Even historical analysis published by professional historians intent on upholding the best standards in their field still falls short of that elusive goal, a complete and totally objective account of events.
How about films and photographs? Can the camera remain objective and give us an accurate view of events? Even visual media give only fragments. Furthermore, the photographer chooses to record a portion of an event, and her point of view suggests an interpretation.
The equipment, social context, and intent of the photographer affect what photographs will be recorded, what will be printed, and how it will be presented to viewers. In oral history, in addition to asking all of the historian's usual questions about accuracy, one must also ask questions about putting spoken words on paper.
At first one tends to assume that a transcription of a tape-recorded interview of an eyewitness would be a very accurate record of an event.
As historians we must examine that assumption.The research paper outline is essential for any article or term paper. The outline may make a great difference on how your work is interpreted. Hire a highly qualified essay writer to cater for all your content needs. Whether you struggle to write an essay, coursework, research paper, annotated bibliography or dissertation, we’ll connect you with a screened academic writer for effective writing assistance.
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