Method of research in oral history (compilation of research project of oral history)

Soheyla Safari (PhD in History,
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan



The writing deals briefly with expressing how oral history project is compiled.  Provided that oral history is considered as a subset of the science of history, the basis for the compilation of the oral history plan is also considered as the historical research project - or in other words, it has been regarded as proposal project in the academic circles. Therefore, the author has not created new principles and designs and has briefly used works that have been written on the method of research in history and the compilation of research designs - usually for the purpose of student dissertations – but since the implementation of oral history projects based on research principles and rules is usually not paid much attention and research principles for oral history are simplistically avoided, this article discusses the development of an oral history research project for those interested in oral history but unfamiliar with the field of history and research methods in history.

Keywords: Oral history, Research method, Oral history project


Although short-lived in our country, oral history is an area to which more attention is paid today and many institutions and organizations pay attention to oral history and have set their task and mission to collect oral memories. However, all of these institutions do not have the same approach. What can be seen in the work of these institutions is that most of the people who deal with oral history, do it experimentally, and many do not have a history-related education or are completely unfamiliar with the field. Accordingly, it seems that in order for oral history to have a proper status and for the produced works to have the necessary richness, now it is the time to review and examine the achievements and works produced. One of the areas of this review is to pay attention to the skill of those who produce oral history and interviews. Therefore, in addition to the topics, teachings and works of experts in this field, the current article briefly deals with how to compile and design an oral history project as a subset of the science of history so that it may be used by the interested, active and hardworking people in the field of oral history who may not be familiar with the method of historical research.

Oral history is both interdisciplinary in nature and defined as a subset of the science of history. The definition given for the science of history and its method of research and methodology - if not all - also apply to oral history.

Apart from its definitional and conceptual controversies and complexities, the science of history can generally be defined as knowledge of the human past. But in the past, we have to look at humanity in a broader light and see it from different perspectives. It goes from the very distant past, which spans the millennia and brings history very close to archeology to very recent times, and it is in this close-to-now and recent time that oral history has been used as an effective method and tool.

Oral history is part of a historical research and historiography that I prefer to call it finally as a method for collecting historical information and a historic source. I mean oral history is a method for collecting historical information through interviews, which eventually becomes a historical resource for researchers in various fields.

This writing does not seek to provide numerous definitions of oral history or the different perspectives and theories that exist in its various aspects. Its purpose is research method, or in other words, the method of research in oral history, meaning what method we should use to carry out an oral history project. In fact, the "Oral History Project" has been considered a historical study of the most important requirements of oral history in order to lead to a good interview and a credible source of attention. Actually, what is mentioned in this article is an emphasis on the significance of research in preparing oral history projects and conducting interviews, etc., so that the implementation of oral history projects is founded on a correct basis from the beginning and more acceptable and reliable citations and results are achieved.

This project is based on the research method in the field of history. Although oral history is considered as a subset of the science of history and the method of historical research in preparing the oral history plan is regarded as a basis, but in detail, due to the nature of the interview and ... in oral history, there are differences in performance.


Since methodology precedes method, a very brief overview of the methodology of oral history is explained; because the methodology itself is an important field in the oral history of modern Iran. In general, there are two types of methodologies in the research related to humanities; quantitative method and qualitative method. In quantitative methodology, the subject of humanities is considered to be the same as natural sciences, and the same methods, which are mostly quantitative and statistical, are used to describe and analyze human subjects; This is generally referred to as empiricism or positivism.

In quantitative method, oral history interviews are structural and inflexible. It means that it is based on a pre-designed questionnaire; the questions are closed in a way that they do not allow the interviewee to speak freely and present his or her interpretations of the subject of the interview. Based on this, there are similar questions with similar arrangements from the interviewer. The interviewer does not play an active role in the interview. There is limited interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee. Interviews are conducted in controlled conditions, so they can be easily repeated. Statistical and empirical analysis and coded responses lead to observed disciplines that they should form the explanation, generalization, and prediction in this way. In this method, location, context, and space have no effect on the interview, and the presence or absence of the interviewer has little effect on the data received. (Abbasi, 1388, p. 192)

Qualitative methods were created somehow to criticize quantitative methods. These methods, which are also interpreted as understanding and interpretive, are seen in methods such as hermeneutics, discourse analysis, semiotics, and so on. The subject of research in the humanities and natural sciences are not considered the same. Man is a complex and multifaceted being. Through empathy with the actor, the researcher tries to understand his or her behavior. In fact, the purpose of qualitative research is " to realize the phenomenon rather than predicting the situations" (Khodaverdi, 1387, p. 43). Qualitative researcher "studies observable behaviors, motivations, feelings and emotions of people, because he or she believes that the internal events can be comprehensible only if they are gained through personal experience." (Khodaverdi, 1387, pp. 44&45)

In this method, based on an interview guide, open-ended and exploratory questions are used to facilitate the interview on the topics of interest. The interview is flexible. Instead of a pre-prepared questionnaire, a list of topics is prepared. Open-ended questions are used so that the interviewee can talk in detail about the topic. This type of methodology pays special attention to contextual issues, in the sense that it places the interviewer's behaviors in the context of his or her background and the wider social environment. These methods seek meaning, process, and context, and are suitable for searching to understand people's motivations and interpretations. There is also a serious interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee and the interviewer has a serious and active presence. (Abbasi, 1388, pp. 193 and 194)

In this method, open-ended and exploratory questions are used to facilitate the interview on the topics of interest based on an interview guide. The interview is flexible. Instead of a pre-prepared questionnaire, a list of topics is prepared. Open questions are used so that the interviewee can talk in details about the topic. This type of methodology pays special attention to contextual issues, in the sense that it places the interviewer's behaviors in the context of his or her background and the wider social environment. These methods seek meaning, process, and context, and are suitable for searching to understand people's motivations and interpretations. There is also a serious interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee and the interviewer has a serious and active presence. (Abbasi, 1388, pp. 193 and 194)

However, there are criticisms over these methods the awareness of which helps us in the methodology and method of oral history research.

Oral history project

Apart from any definition that we present from oral history, what is significant is that oral history should be based on research. In fact, research for implementation of oral history is a priori research the result of which can be used by the posterior researchers.

The reason why it is emphasized on oral history project as one of the important requirements of oral history and even its most basic and fundamental goes back to the general perception that exists from oral history. What is this public perception? That oral history is an easy task for everyone. We easily choose a topic or a topic is suggested, then thanks to the internet and Wikipedia, we gather general information and start the interview. But we should have the mentality that we have found a special opportunity to interview certain people about a certain subject. This opportunity will not be repeated in any way. It is as if we have been given the opportunity to gather this special information only once, so we must step into the field of oral history with all our essence and ability, and it is necessary to use both moral and scientific commitment simultaneously.


Like historical research based on a research plan that shows the research map, oral history should be considered as a general plan. Of course, this plan is not a static one, but it is dynamic and becomes more complete and mature concurrent with conducting research and even interviewing. This means that this plan is not going to restrict, especially since we in oral history want to reduce restrictions in order to obtain credible information and choose methods for conducting interviews that are flexible. We do not want to have definite, predictable, and definite frameworks in purely quantitative ways, but this plan serves as a roadmap for us and guides us in the right direction of research. Naturally, in view of its nature, oral history demands its own special plan, which is discussed below:


An oral history plan can also be formed by preparing a proposal for historical research. What is expressed in this case in terms of research method is the same principles that have been mentioned in the works related to research method in history. The parts that are also useful in oral history are briefly described in this discussion. Naturally, the interested people can use it more and better in learning the principles of compiling research plan by referring to these works directly.


1. Selection of a topic


In selecting a topic, the following important points should be considered by every researcher:


1- The topic should have been originated from the researcher's interest. We should not choose a topic for which there is no interest. The process of researching and an oral history interview has ups and downs, so the researcher must be prepared to face problems so that they do not get bored and discouraged during the work. But the interest in the subject of research can help the researcher to endure these hardships and difficulties. It should be noted, however, that interest in the subject of research does not mean having sympathy for it, because the interest in the subject of research helps us to achieve historical facts; But sympathy for it may distract us from the facts. (Hazrati, 1397, P. 119)


2-There should be a possibility to research about the topic. A topic should not be selected for research that we find difficulty in accessing references such as books, documents, etc. from the very beginning. Some topics are suitable for research because they are pristine and innovative, but it is not possible to research about them. (Hazrati, 1397, P.120)


3-"It should be coordinated with the researcher's limitations. There are limitations for any research alongside facilities. Limitations in skills are one of the issues that need to be addressed. Each research demands its own skills, and if the researcher lacks them, the research will undoubtedly face serious obstacles. Researchers should look at topics in specific areas based on their knowledge of their research skills." (Hazrati, 1307, P. 120)


One of the meanings of this option is that the interviewer has sufficient control over the subject of the interview. Of course, conducting any interview will lead to maturity, skill and increase and improvement of the interviewer's knowledge, but this does not mean that the interviewer gets to know his or her subject during the interview.


Each subject has its own expertise and knowledge and consequently its own method. The interviewer should honestly avoid getting into topics that are not well mastered; he or she should not seek to interview just as an administrative task, acceptance of the subject, publicity of the people. As the subject of social, economic, political, cultural history and in more detailed, jurisprudence, medicine, art, guilds, etc. are very different from each other, consequently the research methods of each, study sources and finally the questions of each are different from each other. Thus, it is necessary for the interviewer to be aware of this issue in choosing the topic in order to conduct research and interview by mastering the topic and its methods and tools.


Just by mastering the subject which is based on the research, cases like the interviewee's mistakes and contradictions are revealed. Unsubstantiated questions are not asked. The interviewee does not have to explain specialized terms and the interview becomes a classroom for the interviewer, as if he or she were learning from a teacher. For example, in an interview, the interviewer could not pronounce the specialized term correctly until the end of the interview, or had wrong and colloquial interpretation from some of the specialized concepts.


Another point in selecting a subject which of course is based on how we look at the history is that we should not consider history as exclusive to political power. It is in this way that we turn our attention to other areas of history; Social, economic, cultural, scientific history and so on is attracted, and even the power and political history in social, economic and other fields and contexts are also examined. It means that our approach to history meaning the researcher considers the basis of history as a political, social, cultural, and … case, has also an effect on the choice of subject.


Related to this point in choosing the subject is that paying attention to the neglected areas is considered insignificant or obvious. One of the reasons for the formation of oral history was to concentrate on the groups that were not reflected in official history; inferior groups whose stories and narrations about the changes in society are not recorded in these documents or do not find a proper reflection. On the other hand, the focus of oral history is on trends and currents that have not received much attention due to their obvious and conventional nature or because the society is evolving within it, so they will not be registered and recorded and the next generation will remain unaware of it. (Nouraee, 1385, P.150)


2. Issue of research


We in raising the issue will explain what we are basically looking for by choosing this topic. Now here we may be looking for how and what or why. We need to explain this to determine what we are looking for.


An exact explanation of the scientific issue of research clarifies to both the researcher and the reader what the mentioned research is sought and what topics and discussions are expected to be proposed and what topics and discussions will not be proposed. Therefore, the issue is a scientific ambiguity that lies within the subject of the research, and we have achieved this based on our previous studies. Accordingly, the scientific issue itself is a kind of awareness about the subject; so, its origin is our previous knowledge.


But in case of occurring a conflict between our prior knowledge and the historical reality and the non-fulfillment of our expectations, we seek a more complete understanding of those realities. The issue of scientific explanation of a subject is within the field of study, which of course is based on a critical approach to the subject and insufficient knowledge of the responses that exist in that field. All this requires regular knowledge and awareness in the researcher. One of the most important features of the issue is that it should not be supervised by something obvious. It should be perceptual, not inductive, that is, it should be the result of the researcher's findings and studies, not the inductions and perceptions of others, and only seeks to answer a scientific ambiguity. (Hazrati, 1397, PP.13-125)


If it is a pristine subject and there is not much information about it, our subject cannot be issue-oriented. Our interviews are exploratory. After conducting exploratory interviews, we can define the issue when we have enough information. Even in view of the control that we found on the subject, considering a set of limitations that we have in terms of time, budget, resources, access to knowledgeable people, scientific ability, etc., we limit our subject and look for specific contents by defining the issue.


3. Questions of research


Raising an issue ends eventually with one or more main questions. Undoubtedly, these questions are far more important than the answers they seek, meaning that in the research process, it is much more difficult to ask a question than to find an answer, because new and innovative questions lead to change in science, not answers given to them. As long as a question is not asked, there will be no answer. But if a question is created, it will no doubt lead to answers.


1-Descriptive and analytical questions

One division about questions is the division of questions into descriptive and analytical ones. Descriptive questions are the ones that are usually made with "what and how" interrogative conjunctions, guiding the research path towards description. So the researcher should pay attention to what kind of research he or she intends to do? If he or she is looking for descriptive research, he or she should make a descriptive question, but if he or she intends to do analytical research, he or she should use the "why" interrogative conjunction in making the questions. Research based on the question "How did the nationalization of the oil industry happen?" is a descriptive research of the event. But if we ask "why did the oil industry in Iran become national?" the description of the event will no longer be the main intention of the researcher and the analysis of the reason for nationalization will be the purpose of the research. Sometimes a question can be combinational; That is, it includes both description and analysis. The inclusion of the two mentioned questions about the oil nationalization constitutes a descriptive-analytical combinational question.


Some experts believe that descriptive questions cannot be issue-oriented ones and such questions are not supervised by a scientific issue in research. On this basis, we can call descriptive research as subject-oriented research against analytical issue-oriented research.


2-Questions based on cause and reason


Another division is to raise questions based on cause and reason. Cause-based questions demand its own answers and reason-based questions demand answers according to reason and argument. That is, in the face of "cause-based" questions, one cannot speak of reasons, and in the answer to "reason-based" questions, reason-based categories cannot be cited, because there is a difference between cause and reason. Causes refer to objective matters that are commonly considered in the natural sciences. That is, it is the cause of a response that has an external dimension and is tangible and visible and palpable while the reasons are for the mind and do not have external motives, they cannot be observed and touched. In the realm of causes, we are dealing with natural things, which are objective, but in the realm of reason, we are dealing with the mind and the human mind, which is a purely subjective matter. For example, if we ask "what were the reasons for Genghis Khan's attack on Iran?" We have asked a question about the causes, which of course requires a cause-based answer. In response, we can refer to the "Mongol access to the pastures and fertile nature of Khorasan." An issue that is mediated by historical resources, has an external dimension and is visible. But if we ask, "What was the reason for Genghis Khan's attack on Iran?" our response must be concerned with mental matters, such as the thoughts that Genghis had in mind as a representative of the God of heaven, and who had a sacred mission for himself in this regard.

Secondary questions are made from the fragmentation of a fundamental question. A fundamental question may turn into three, four, or more secondary questions. The number of the secondary questions extracted from the main question is not important. It is important that secondary questions should not be independent of the fundamental question. In other words, more or less secondary questions can be asked based on whether the main question is extensive or composed; however, these questions should not be independent of the main question.


Another point regarding secondary questions is that, the existential philosophy of these questions is in essence to give them a gradual answer in the research process so that the answer to the main question can emerge. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a chapter or section in the research structure for all secondary questions posed in the blueprint. In other words, a harmony needs to exit between the secondary questions and the organization of the research; Thus, there needs to be a close relationship between secondary questions and organization of research. If, for example, we have five secondary questions, we need to have at least five chapters to provide a position to answer each of the questions in the research text. (Hazrati, 1397, PP. 127-131)


4.Assumptions: Assumptions are principle or principles considered definitely by the researcher (Mollaee Tavani, 1397, p. 77); Part of the scientific categories related to research that is certain and the goal of the researcher is not to research and reflect on it. (Hazrati, 1397, P.131)


4.Hypothesis or claim


Hypothesis is the initial and preliminary answer to the main question of the research, which the researcher intends to give a short answer to the main question with the support of his or her detailed studies, observations and initial consideration. The application of hypothesis in research is analytical and explanatory, not descriptive. (Mollaee Tavani, 1397, P. 74)




"The importance of research depends on its theoretical value. In other words, what vague scientific points are explained and which dark dimensions and angles are clarified by conducting the considered research. Thus, as far as the scientific validity of a research is concerned, we have in fact considered its importance.


Unlike importance, the benefit of research depends on its practical value. What is the practical application of the research and in which part of human society can it be used? Some studies, especially in the applied sciences, owe much of their credibility to their benefits. What problems can they solve in the context of human life? This category of science is usually referred to as applied sciences. But some sciences are not very practical in terms of application, such as philosophy and historiology. But this does not mean that such sciences have no value and credibility in the context of human life. By the way, these sciences were not less influential than the applied sciences in the context of human society in different historical periods and were more influential at times than any other science, but the type of impact of these sciences is not practical, but strategic. These sciences, if not seemingly applied, actually outline the strategies of human society. So we can say that sciences like historiology are strategic rather than applied sciences. Of course, this has been the case at least for us the Iranians, because historiology has also had practical value for Europeans in the process of colonization of Third World countries.


But the goal of research is nothing but proving the main hypothesis or claim. The researcher intends to prove its correctness or incorrectness by examining the cause-based and reason-based relation available in hypothesis or claim. Thus, he or she has no goal but examining the claim." (Hazrati, 1397, P. 158)


6.Reaserch record


Research record means expressing previous research on the issue of research and mentioning the innovations that exist in research and have not been addressed in previous research. Before doing any research, we need to answer an important question, and that is to what extent the issue of our research is pristine and original? In this section, the researcher proves that he or she has made a new issue the subject of his or her research by introducing and criticizing previous research, so that the answer to it can help the development and progress of that scientific field.


The research record is practically drawn up in two parts: The first part is the introduction of research that has already been done in relation to the subject of our research. In the second part we have to show what is the difference between our research and this previous research and what is the novelty of our work? In posing a new issue or in choosing a different method and analytical theory that has not been considered before? (Hazrati, 1397, 150) The research record in oral history is very important. While it provides the researcher with basic information on the subject and issue of the research, if attention is paid to it, it prevents from conducting parallel interviews that are registered and recorded with the goal of the oral history of pristine data or the data considered as neglected or obvious, or the data collected earlier are questioned with a different approach and attitude.

7.Methods of collecting information


Methods of collecting information are: library methods, documental methods and field methods.


Library method: Using the library and the whole contents (including all book sources, publications, etc.) and through databases or open and closed bookcases and shelves.


Documental method: Like library method, using all documents by using microfiches, microfilms and computers, etc.


Field method: (including interview, observation and examination and audio and visual methods), pictorial documents, slides, films and so on. If it is created by the researcher, it is considered a field work, but if he or she uses the available documents in the archives, it is considered as documental method. (Mollaee Tavani, 1397, P. 120)


8. Sources and references


Sources and references are divided into two categories in terms of importance and validity


First-hand sources: Eyewitness accounts of events have been written by the person who witnessed or participated in the incident, namely at the time of the incident or the closest time to the incident. The authors of these sources were either observers of the events themselves, or learned about the developments through minor and direct intermediaries, or with the help of government documents or narrators of the news. In the history of Iran and among all the works that have been written in different periods, only the part that their authors have observed is considered as a first-hand source. In contemporary periods, newspapers, periodicals, memoirs, archival documents, electronic sources, audio-visual sources have also been added to these sources.


Second-hand or secondary sources: Refers to sources, research, and works that have been written long after the occurrence of events and using first-hand sources, namely the creators of these works have not observed or experienced them.


There are different categories about sources that I explain one of them. Different kinds of sources are as follows:


1.Written sources (including books, press, archival documents). Books are included special historical books, diaries, memories, geographical sources, literary works, Tadhkirahs (an Arabic term for memorandum or admonition), biographies, Tabaghat Negari (a method of Islamic historiography)


2. Visual and graphic sources (audio-visual)


3.Electronic sources: including internet websites, computer archives of organizations and ministries and …, electronic tools such as CDs and edifices


5.Life tools and instruments (like the ones located in museums) (Mollaee Tavani, 1386, PP. 107-119)


9.Review of sources


Review of sources include two areas of internal and external reviews of the narrator, and internal and external review of the narration and the moist important points to which should be paid attention are as follows:


A) External review: 1. Recognition of individual and social identity 2. Recognition of physical and mental characteristics and conditions 3. Time and space distance between the narrator and narration 4. The historical situation and conditions of the narrator's audiences. 5. The narrator's beliefs and ideological tendencies. 6. Political tendencies and affiliations and class and economic affiliations 7. Narrator's style and way of expression (Mollaee Tavani, 1397, P. 149)


B) Narrator's internal review: 1. Understanding the purpose and motivations of the narrator from narrating a narration 2. Understanding the interests, expectations and preconceptions of the narrator (Mollaee Tavani, 1397, PP. 53 & 54)


C) External review of narration: 1. Originality of narration in terms of script, language, type of paper and writing style, whether it corresponds to the time and culture of the narrator or not? 2. The spiritual proportions of the narration with those of parallel ones 3. Examining the sources and references of the narration 4. Understanding the literal meanings of the narration according to the development and evolution of language in the context of history 5. Elimination of unrealistic cases form narration (Hazrati, 1397, PP. 51-53)


D) Internal review of narration: 1. Understanding the true meaning of the narrative and evaluating it at the level of intellect 2. Discovering the missing links in the narrative with the help of historical intellect (in internal review, one of the most important tools for narrative analysis is comparative methods) 3. Discovering the main understanding and perspective, but covered in the narration on which all the contents of the narration are arranged. 4. Evaluating and comparing the opinions of other historians or critics who have dealt with this event. (Hazrati, 1397, PP. 55 & 56)


Review of sources in oral history is of great importance from two aspects. First, the researcher's control over sources and their review, on one hand, is very important in conducting studies and research to formulate an oral history project. That is, on one hand, the researcher has formed his or her studies based on reliable sources, and on the other hand, he or she has used these sources correctly in this study and compiled an oral history project by mastering their review. Second, mastering over review of sources leads to credible interviews, because the interviewer, on one hand, designs his a priori and codified questions according to the internal and external review of the narrator and narration, and on the other hand, considering the interviewee as the narrator and his or her answers as narrators, the active mind of an interviewer during the interview or revision of the interview with the approach of review of narrator and narration, will create rich interviews.


10. Designing interview questions


The questions of an interview are a dynamic part of oral history in general and interviews. Based on the topic of the interview, general and common questions are asked among all interviewers about the topic, which are designed in the compiled plan to conduct the interview within the desired framework. However, based on the expertise of the interviewee, his or her command over the events and a special time period and throughout the interview process, the questions of each interviewee differ from the rest of the interviewees, as well as, new questions are also extracted from the interviewee's conversations and his or her answers, which are formed during the interview process. It is as if at the heart of a topic, interviewing each interviewee itself requires a more detailed plan and more specific questions.


There are different divisions about different kinds of interview. For example:


1. Structured interview, non-structured interview, group interview.


2. Extensive interview and in-depth interview, guided and free interview, interpretive and news interview, semi-guided and concentrated interviews.

These interviews can be summarized in two features: one group of well-planned interviews with specific and pre-determined questions, the other group are not pre-determined and specific questions; the topics and themes are clear, and the questions are based on these topics and the dialogue and interaction that takes place between the interviewee and the interviewer.


In fact, a combination of the two methods can be used to achieve the best results depending on the subject, method, time and purpose of oral history research. Proper research design shows which interview method to use.


The questions in a general look include ( who? when? Why? What and how? Where).


These questions give us a descriptive, analytical and interpretive approach. In designing questions, we have to consider different types of questions and also we should make them internal for ourselves so that we ask these questions wherever necessary against the interviewee's answers. Let me give you a simple and objective example: when the interviewee mentions a sur name, we ask his or her first name. when he or she talks about an event, we ask about the time and place of the event. We’d better make the answer more detailed and precise.


A few points:


1-"A researcher is not a journalist who seeks to disclose, he or she neither seeks to ballyhoo nor a tidbit. He or she seeks to understand the dynamics of life; the standards that he or she uses to improve his or her thoughts, is per se simple and have been known for the public. The feature of his or her work is how to arrange and in general to understand them. His or her perception of social affairs does not stem from new events he or she has discovered, but from new relationships he or she establishes between events, giving a clearer meaning to known events. (Kivi, 1379, P. 74)


2. "Let's not forget that we offer interviews as a means of breaking with prejudices, mental records and lucidity illusions, whereas if they are extracted superficially, it can help reinforce prejudices. Therefore, for research, it is vital that we make interviews more productive by reading, and reading by interviews. (Kivi, 1379, P. 70)


3. "Although interviewing is first and foremost a method of gathering information in the full sense of the word, the theoretical mind of the researcher must be constantly awake, so that his or her interventions make the interview as fruitful as possible." (Kivi, 1379, P. 188)

11-Selection of interviewees

Usually, people are identified for the interview during the compiling stage as well as due to the research that has been done, but the number of these people will definitely change during the interview. However, there are three general methods for extracting knowledgeable people and interviewers: simple method, snowball or network or chain method, theoretical method.

-Simple method: Available people or volunteers are called; we can give a call for this purpose. The participants may have little awareness in this method. Thus, necessary information is not obtained.

-Snowball (network or chain) method: in the method, the first individuals who been selected through this method, introduce the individuals who have valuable experiences and viewpoints.

-Theoretical method or the one based on a goal: Participation starts with a simple method, expands in snowball method and turns into the method based on a goal. Oral history researcher tries to select the interviewers in a targeted manner on the basis of what kind of special information is needed following initial findings. (Tavakoli, 1396, P. 50)

-As it was seen, many mentioned rules and cases are the same in most of historical research plans. The two cases of "interview questions" and "selection of interviewees" are donated to oral history project in view of the fact that oral history is interview-oriented. However, if the researcher in other historical researches needs to interview informed people in order to complete his or her information, these two specific clauses can also be used by him or her.




  • Faezeh Tavakoli, OralHistory, Theoretical Discussions, Sooreh Mehr, 1396, Tehran.
  • Hasan Khodaverdi, Rahavard-e Siasi (political present) Publications, Methodology of Qualitative Research, the Scientific Association of Islamic Knowledge and Political Sciences School of Imam Sadeq (AS) University, 1387, Tehran, P. 21
  • Hasan Hazrati, (1397), Method of Research in Historiology, Logos 1379, Qom, Second edition.
  • Ebrahim Abbasi, collection of article "Interview in oral history: Collection of articles in the fourth expert meeting and workshop of oral history (6th and 7th of Esfand 1386), Analytical article on quantitative and qualitative methodology, Sooreh Mehr, 1388, Tehran.
  • Raymond Kivi, Luc Van kampenhout, translated by Abdolhossein Nikgohar, Method of Research in Social Sciences, Sooreh Mehr, Tootia Publciations, 1384, Tehran.
  • Alireza Mollaee Tavani, A prelude on Methods of Research in History, Nashr-e Nei Publications, 1397, Tehran, thirteenth edition.
  • Morteza Nouraee, Treasury of Documents, issue 64, "A prelude to some of the theoretical and functional problems of oral history", National Library of Iran, Tehran, 1385, P. 150.        

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The Memory of Azam Al-Sadat Sajjadi Masoumi

Bow tie

When I was studying in Farhanaz Pahlavi middle School at the end of Hajbashi Street, I spent bitter days. At school, I was dressed differently because of my coat and long scarf. That is why I was always alone and had no friends. On the other hand, the teachers did not care about me and treated me badly. They put me at the end of the class and they did not call my name for class questions;
It was brought up in an interview with Seddiqa Mohammadi

Interview with the foster coach of the 80s and 90s

A Review of the Cultural Activities of Girls High Schools in Zarand city from Kerman in the Sixties
Seddiqa Mohammadi was born on 1963/May/10 in Zarand, Kerman. During the last years of the imperial rule, he participated in demonstrations with his family, and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he entered education as a teacher.
Book Review:

“History Watcher”

In the middle six months of 1981 (1360 SH), a group of the political office of IRGC headed to the fronts in order to record events which were related to commanding the war; some the narrators died a martyr. Sayyid Mohammad Eshaghi was one of those narrators who in the year 1980, after being active for a time in Rasht Basij, joined IRGC and after that he narrated the war for 4 years, he died a martyr in January 19, 1987.