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Oral History Interviews Guide

This guide offers resources, samples, best practices, and other useful information for conducting oral history interviews at the College of William and Mary.

Oral History Association's Principles and Best Practices

All members of the William and Mary community should be aware of and adhere to established best practices when conducting oral history interviews whether for a personal research project or as part of an established oral history program. The Oral History Association's (OHA) Principles and Best Practices for Oral History should be reviewed in advance of preparing for and conducting interviews. The principles and best practices are  summaries of the organization’s most important principles and best practices for the pre-interview preparation, the conduct of the interview, and the preservation and use of oral histories. The document includes: Introduction; General Principles for Oral History; and Best Practices for Oral History.

The OHA also provides an overview and information for individuals based in universities whose oral history projects are subject to review by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), which is also of great use to individuals navigating this process.

Keep in mind that those documents are not an inclusive primer on oral history.

Other Institutions

Some institution publish their own guides on conducting Oral Histories, tailored to specific subject matters. A good example are the Oral History Guidelines and Guidelines for Arranging a Survivor Presentation, both published by the United States Holocaust Museum. Please make sure to observe copyright restrictions when dealing with published guides.