Tuesday, February 23, 2010

External Hard Drive

I hope you all are getting lots of information for your projects this week. We need to be closing in on your interview subjects at this point. A number of you seemed to be lacking some basic secondary research in that you haven't actually *gone* to find books you need. This should have happened weeks ago.

Alas, time to think about an external hard drive. Here is a good one for way of comparison. Most drives these days are in the 320 GB range or bigger.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Research Reports

Okay, so your research reports will be due on Wednesday. Expect more of the same in class on Monday.

There is no specific format for your research report except that I ask you be as SPECIFIC as possible, giving me an inventory of all tangibles (books, articles, etc., with brief citations as well as much specifics as possible about your upcoming interviews.)

REMEMBER that the following week I want to know specifics about who you are interviewing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Preliminary Research Report

The preliminary research report is pretty basic:

Tell us (me and your peer review group) what you have accomplished, and make an evaluation of the usefulness of what you presently have in the way of the following:

books, articles, potential interviews, images, other archival or ephemeral materials.

Let it be typed, and let it be printed!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Interviewing tips

I'll be going over these more in class, but here are some interviewing tips to be thinking about:

Oral history can be used to explore almost any topic, including the history of veterans, the civil rights movement, natural disasters, the history of a business, group, or institution, and many other topics.

A. Before the Interview

The usefulness of oral sources ultimately depends on the interviewer and the questions he or she asks. Thus, background research, both of the topic being studied and the person being interviewed, is the most important task for oral historians.

The best way to arrange an interview with someone you do not know is by a letter or email, followed up with a phone call.

Check the equipment. Interviewers should be familiar with their equipment and test it prior to beginning an interview. Difficulties concerning the use of recording equipment are almost always the fault of the interviewer.

B. Asking Questions

1. It is a good idea to make an outline of topics or questions to pursue in an interview. The interviewer, however, should not become wedded to any outline or set of questions. Be flexible. The interviewee may open up new areas of inquiry not considered by the interviewer.

2. Try to rely on open-ended questions as much as possible: how, what, where, and why questions elicit the best responses.

3. Start with noncontroversial questions; save the delicate ones, if there are any, until later in the interview.

4. Do not ask compound questions. Interviewees will likely only remember one question when they begin to answer.

5. Do not end the interview abruptly. Ask some deflationary questions, such as, “Is there anything I have not asked you that you feel is important to bring out at this time?”

6. Oral historians must be active listeners. The interviewer must simultaneously monitor both the recording equipment and the quality of what the interviewee is saying while also listening for clues about areas to explore with follow-up questions.

7. Do not interrupt the interviewee. Interviewers should use a note pad to jot down things they think of while the interviewee is speaking.

8. Do not be afraid of temporary periods of silence. People, especially older adults, often pause briefly when they are gathering their thoughts or searching their memories.

9. Ask for clarification. If you don't know what something is, it is likely other people do not know as well. Try to establish at important points in the interview where the narrator was or what his or her role was in the event.

10. Do not challenge accounts you think may be inaccurate. Avoid giving your own opinions.

11. Use props if you have them.

12. Elicit emotions and dialogue.

C. Interview setting

The interview should be conducted at a place wher ethe interviewee is comfortable. It should also be a place free of interruptions, distractions, and background noise.

D. Length of an interview

Most interviews last about 60-90 minutes. Generally, interviews that go longer than two hours start to become unproductive. If the interviewee is not tired, the interviewer should be (active listening is hard work). Remember, a second interview session can always be scheduled for another time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Amicable Divorce Date

If you and your partner are not getting along for whatever reason, you may have an amicable divorce. The deadline for this divorce is:

Friday, February 5

Peer Review Teams

Here are our peer review teams. You should have the email/contact information for your peers. Everything that you hand in to me deadline-wise, you should also give to your peer reviewer(s). You will be conducting the progress interviews of your peer groups as this course goes along.

Hilary and Shelley <-> Sam and Devon

Thomas and Casey <-> Elizabeth

Taylor and Quentin <-> Taylor and Carla

Kristen <-> Julio and Camma

Isolda and Hannah <-> Jack and Jason