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Senior Project Research Paper on Oral History

Snowghost57 1 / 1  
Nov 27, 2012   #1

Oral History Paper

This is what i have so far for my senior project research paper on Oral history. I have an intro, and 3 complete body paragraphs. I'm looking for feedback on how i can improve what i have so far, and possible ideas on how i should finish this paper. Any help will be appreciated.

About a year ago I started my first job working at Liberty Shores Assisted Living in Poulsbo as a part time dishwasher. I provide a service at liberty shores that offers a paycheck in my favor, and at the same time allows me to learn about these people who have lived for so long. Everyone goes through life differently, and look over their lives with different perspectives. These residents have seen so many extraordinary things, and how they truly feel about the time they have lived, and what feelings they have about those events that occurred before my lifetime, are of great interest to me. My job at Liberty Shores is quite simple; wash the dishes that come in from the dining room, and deliver a cart of food to each of the three floors on the other half of the building known as Harbor House Alzheimer's Care. Each evening when I went to deliver the food carts I would meet residents in the halls, and after a while I began to build new relationships, and understand their lives and experiences through brief discussions. They always had the most interesting things to say, and so I often enjoyed talking to them, and listening to them talk about their life experiences. They enjoyed the company, and although I was able to learn a little bit about them, I never had the chance to talk with them for more than a few minutes. To learn about all the history that is so abundant in my workplace through the minds of these people would be truly amazing. The scope of my project is to establish a collection of all these stories and experiences, and create a self-published book containing them.

Oral history has an extensive background that goes back thousands of years. Elders of ancient civilizations would pass their stories down to each new generation in hope that traditions could be kept. These stories would contain history about their civilization that if not passed down; would be lost. Some of these stories taught lessons to the younger generations about important knowledge such as useful hunting and survival techniques. Aboriginal societies of North America relied on oral history to preserve and maintain their culture and identity. Their stories would tell all about the beginnings of their tribes and major events that happened throughout their history. Elders used oral history techniques as ways of teaching their children everything about their tribes culture and traditions. During these times all of this information would have never been absorbed by the new generations if not for the elders telling their stories. Most tribes would choose a single person and designate them with the responsibility of keeping the knowledge and passing it on.

Today oral history is used much the same as it was hundreds of years ago. We keep oral history records to maintain and preserve our past history as told by the people who have seen and experienced it first hand. Organizations such as the "Oral History Society" dedicate themselves to creating and preserving immense amounts of oral history. This organization also offers training programs that give everyone the knowledge needed to perform an oral history interview and document it properly. The "Oral History Society" hosts annual conferences and seminars that are open for the public to attend. These seminars are meant for people to understand what oral history is, and for them to understand its importance. On their website, they even offer samples of their members projects so that one may learn from an experienced oral historians work, and improve upon their own project. With resources like this available; recording oral history properly has become far more easy than it was once before.

Oral history has been used to learn about numerous events throughout history. One of these major events that oral history has brought new insight upon is World War II. Lasting from the beginning of Hitler's invasion upon Poland in September of 1939 until the the unconditional surrender of the axis powers in 1945. Approximately 63 million people were killed as a result of WWII. Oral history gives the opportunity for people to understand in depth the impact of the war on the lives of everybody that was alive when it occurred. In "The War" directed by Ken Burns, a greater insight of the affects of WWII is portrayed through an American perspective. In this seven-part documentary presented by PBS, one may see the power that oral history offers as compared to just hearing the facts and statistics behind the war. Hearing the stories told by the ones who were there when these events occurred gives a stronger emotional attachment to WWII. Such strong emotions about the war are seen in their stories; emotions and feelings that could not be felt from reading a history book.
dumi 1 / 6,925 1592  
Nov 30, 2012   #2
I began to build new relationships

I suggest;
I began forming new friendships... why I suggest to replace ''relationships'' with ''friendships'' is because relationships generally have a long term sense. In this case you may be forming just acquaintances, not serious ones ; )

They always had the most interesting things to say, and so I often enjoyed talking to them, and listening to them talk about their life experiences.

They always had the most interesting things to say that I often enjoyed. So I encouragingly listened to their life experiences.

They enjoyed the company, and although I was able to learn a little bit about them, I never had the chance to talk with them for more than a few minutes.

This sentence sounds a bit repetitive; may be you are using the same set of words ... let's try and say this a little bit differently;

Though I our chats were always limited to a few minutes, they too enjoyed my company.
OP Snowghost57 1 / 1  
Nov 30, 2012   #3
Thank you for the tips. I like your ideas and i think they improve on what i already have.

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