By:
Trevor Lummis
Structure and Validity in Oral
Evidence
Trevor Lummis
 an English writer and historian.
 a past Honorary Treasurer of the Oral History
Society and held an Honor...
 At the University of Essex his research work
has been in social history through oral
history methods.
 After working as...
His works:
Validation of Oral Evidence
The historical
experience
Individual experience
is typical of its time
and place
Individual
Interview
Aggregation
and
Tabulation
Ways to Assess Validity
The Individual Interview
 The main concern for oral history is
the degree to which the accurate
recall of the past is pos...
MEMORY
RECALL
Fund of information about the
past that an informant will
readily relate which are liable to
be integrated w...
 It is a mistake to discuss interviews as if they
are a standard product, since some areas
are more difficult to recaptur...
Nevertheless, if careful reading
and cross-checking can, in most
cases, establish the validity of
much of the detail in i...
Ron Grele
 Raises the interesting aspect of the
use/interpretation that the historian wants to
make of an interview.
 Th...
Conclusion:
 It may be that (for the present at least) there
is no entirely satisfactory method of validating
individual ...
Aggregation and
Tabulation
 As this procedure has been criticised for
being ‘positivistic’, it should be stated that
the ...
 Tabulation can provide a means of
assessing how representative are a group
of interviews, by revealing the level of
inte...
Thank You!
Presented by:
Mr. Mervin Ajose Espinola
MAE-Social Studies
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Structure and validity in oral evidence

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Structure and validity in oral evidence

  1. 1. By: Trevor Lummis Structure and Validity in Oral Evidence
  2. 2. Trevor Lummis  an English writer and historian.  a past Honorary Treasurer of the Oral History Society and held an Honorary Fellowship in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex.  a historical consultant to the The Bounty Hunters, a television documentary on the work of a team from James Cook University, Queensland, which was diving on the wreck of HMS Bounty and doing other archaeological
  3. 3.  At the University of Essex his research work has been in social history through oral history methods.  After working as research assistant on Family Life and Work Experience before 1918, he was senior research officer on The Family and Community Life of East Anglican Fishermen (Social Science Research Council grant HR 2656/1), which focused in particular on the working environment and its effect on industrial and
  4. 4. His works:
  5. 5. Validation of Oral Evidence The historical experience Individual experience is typical of its time and place
  6. 6. Individual Interview Aggregation and Tabulation Ways to Assess Validity
  7. 7. The Individual Interview  The main concern for oral history is the degree to which the accurate recall of the past is possible.  It is known that that when memory fails it is the most recent memories which go first, while early memories remain clear or are even enhanced.
  8. 8. MEMORY RECALL Fund of information about the past that an informant will readily relate which are liable to be integrated with subsequent experience and values. Responses to detailed interviewing which prompts dormant ‘memories’ that are less likely to be integrated into the individual’s present value structure.
  9. 9.  It is a mistake to discuss interviews as if they are a standard product, since some areas are more difficult to recapture than others.  The validity of an interview can be assessed for its general accuracy by the degree to which it corresponds to checkable details.  Person’s interpretation of events can be affected by the physiological and social process of aging (Paul Thompson).
  10. 10. Nevertheless, if careful reading and cross-checking can, in most cases, establish the validity of much of the detail in interviews, it does not solve the problem of omission and suppression.
  11. 11. Ron Grele  Raises the interesting aspect of the use/interpretation that the historian wants to make of an interview.  The methodology used to understand and validate an interview will be intimately connected to the underlying historical assumptions: it will likewise shape the nature of the history emerging from it.  Interpreting interviews in terms of individual
  12. 12. Conclusion:  It may be that (for the present at least) there is no entirely satisfactory method of validating individual interviews.  The more aware of history and politics an informant is, the more likely is the danger of his rationalising an account of the past to harmonize with a present view point.  The virtue of drawing on a number of interviews is that they provide some basis for
  13. 13. Aggregation and Tabulation  As this procedure has been criticised for being ‘positivistic’, it should be stated that the method is not tied to any specific epistemology.  The possibility of understanding the structure and consciousness of individual interviews through their comparative structure is, however, only one of two dimensions of validity. The other is the degree to which an interview, or group of interviews, might be
  14. 14.  Tabulation can provide a means of assessing how representative are a group of interviews, by revealing the level of internal consistency and by demonstrating the degree of conformity to the broader historical picture known from other sources.  Structuring the evidence not only provided some grounds for generalising the evidence in the interviews, but actually contributed to a more accurate
  15. 15. Thank You! Presented by: Mr. Mervin Ajose Espinola MAE-Social Studies

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