Literature Question

Purpose: This paper further explores the social history of your Paper #1 topic. It extends your Paper #1 research by designing a draft for an oral history project on the symbolism of an Atlantic Canadian person, place, event or thing, and

– requires you to improve all aspects of your work in Paper #1: revisit, revise, improve

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– learn about oral history as a social research method and its role in “making sense” of a topic

– You will NOT conduct the study; you will NOT conduct interviews; this is a rough proposal only

– Some of you chose topics wherein all/most people directly involved are deceased, such as the Halifax Explosion. You can still propose a study that interviews their family members or even today’s schoolchildren who learn about it as part of a group who will pass down that information


Length: 4 pages in total, including 3 single-
    spaced pages of text (or equivalent in
handwriting), and a references page;
marks will be lost if the length is too short
overall; you may include your original
cover page if you wish

Font: No larger than Times New Roman 12
(this font)

Formatting: Choose from any official style,
such as APA or MLA, for citing and
referencing; do NOT simply paste URLs
as a citation or reference

Sources, Citing and References:
Sources: Use and cite at least 2
meaningful academic sources AND 2
pop culture sources. Do NOT cite
Wiki or Canadian Encyclopedia.

Citing (also called in-text citation)
occurs within the writing; e.g., Jung
(1964) claims …; if it is a direct
quote, write the page number; if it is
not a direct quote, write the name,
References are placed at the end of the


Evaluation will be strongly applied:

Spelling, grammar, punctuation;

following paper guidelines

Choice, use and citing all sources in
official formatting (of your choice)

Clearly identifying your research focus
and question

Clearly demonstrating a foundational
knowledge of oral history method, a
semi-structured interview schedule,
and potential research project costs




Layout: Note that most of Paper #1 (an improved version) will be included in this paper

No separate cover page (this is a departure from official guidelines but helps save a tree)

Write an original title, your name, your A number, then start writing the paper

(See reverse side for what to include in the paper’s sections)



These are the 4 sections you will use to organize the paper; use these headings to divide the sections (or come up with your own headings that reflect the required material):

  1. Introduction
  2. Oral History as a Method
    3. Oral History Proposal
  3. Conclusion





NOTE on interdisciplinarity:

Students take many academic and career paths that reflect interests, goals and areas of expertise. The oral history method can be conducted in any discipline, especially in the Arts. Dere (2018, p. 258) claims that “oral history is a qualitative data collection method that emphasizes the perspectives of the witnesses and usually has multiple open-ended interview sessions with each source person. The method is used as a data collection tool for history, sociology, folklore, and education.” Also, Bornat (2006, p. 440 writes that oral history “works best when approached in multidisciplinary mode. The richness of the data, in terms of the possibilities for levels and contexts of interpretation, suggests a need for access to the methods and theories of more than one discipline and a balanced approach ensures that no one emphasis predominates.” I look forward to reading your proposed studies.



You may introduce sub-titles if you wish


  1. Introduction

– a shortened (summarized – don’t simply copy-paste the whole enchilada), improved version of your Paper #1 without the graphic element (unless you want to include your cover page). This section includes your (improved) observation/brainstorming reflections, some basic history of your topic, and mention of Jung’s claim that the full meaning of a symbol cannot be known and can be valued differently by different people, even at different times.


  1. Oral History as a Method

– Look up (online or in a book) and write out the central features of oral history in about 2 paragraphs to clearly demonstrate a beginning understanding of the semi-structured research method

– What is one thing you like about the method? Why?

– What is one thing you wouldn’t like if you had to conduct the method? Why?

– How can the data collected through oral histories be organized for analysis? For example, many researchers find ways to code the participants’ responses.


  1. Oral History Proposal

– Who will be interviewed? How many (keep your sample small)? Are they of certain gender(s), or age? Where will you meet, and for how long? Why were those participants chosen? How will you contact your participants (informants)? Will you give them an incentive, such as a gift card?

– Will those you interview represent a marginalized or otherwise silenced voice on your symbol? Or, will those you interview represent more or less the status quo of people who interact with your symbol?

– Budget: Look online for some examples on the costs of conducting oral history research

– Flexible interview schedule: What are 10 questions you will likely ask your informants? You can organize these in any way. Give one justification for each of the 10 questions; in other words, explain briefly why ask those questions?

– Troubleshooting expected challenges


  1. Conclusion

– Restate what your symbol is and your research question in general terms, including something about the symbol’s history

– Summarize several points about conducting oral history and how you will conduct it

– Conclude with your view on how your oral history project could add to the making sense of Atlantic Canada


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