Add Your Story

We will be adding a section here for Muslim youth to add their story, whether it is a personal narrative, or in true oral historian fashion, a narrative of another individual.

Resources for Oral History

Good Interviewing Skills

A good interview makes the subject feel comfortable and invites him or her to tap into memories and share rich details of his or her life. Following are some tips that will help you generate a list of successful interview questions:

  • Make a list of topics you want to know about.
  • Prepare questions that will address these topics.
  • Phrase your questions so that they are open-ended and don’t elicit a “yes” or “no” answer.
  • Prompt your subject with questions that use phrases such as “tell me about…, ” “explain to me…,” “talk to me about your feelings on….”
  • Avoid complicated and long questions. Keep it simple.
  • Stay neutral. Don’t ask “leading” questions that make your subject feel as if there’s a right or wrong answer.
  • Group your questions together in an order that seems logical.
  • Don’t be afraid to switch things around or interrupt your question order during the interview.
  • Sometimes you won’t be able to anticipate the direction in which a conversation will go and following-up with a question will prove to be key to unearthing your subject’s story.
  • Don’t interrupt responses.
  • Ask for visual descriptions of people, places, or objects.
  • Don’t be afraid of silence. Sometimes your subject will want to pause and reflect.

Online Resources

Institute for Oral History at Baylor University
This site offers an "Oral History Workshop on the Web" which includes an overview, guidance for K-12 teachers and students in planning and executing oral history research, transcribing style guide, interview tips and more.

Oral History Association
The website of the Oral History Association, founded in 1966, features an educators section which includes an overview on how to use oral history in your classroom; post-secondary and professional oral history programs and projects; a list of pre-collegiate oral history projects; and, a directory of nationwide oral history educator workshops.

Studs Terkel in the Classroom
This website from the Chicago Historical Society provides a host of educational tools and documents for students, teachers and the general public, including sample lesson plans on oral history with suggestions for how to use Studs Terkel recordings in the classroom.

StoryCorps
A modern oral history project supported by National Public Radio, StoryCorps sets up booths with audio recording equipment in cities across America. The result: a national sound portrait of modern America.

Family Search
In a vault built into a mountain in Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) holds the world’s largest family history collection, including oral histories, genealogical charts, and records from all over the world.

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