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Questions related to Oral History
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Dear all,
I am currently working on an oral corpus containing witnesses from ex-deported women. I would be interested in exploring the corpus looking for verbal and para-verbal features related to trauma experience and recalling. What kinds of patterns should I look at? Could you advise me on some relevant literature on this matter?
Thank you in advance!
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Very useful! Thank you!
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I will be using oral history as part of my research.
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I have used an oral history approach to explore biographical studies of two different individuals. One life story was about an ethnic Korean marathoner under Japanese colonial rule in the 1930s and 40s. My colleague and I collected newspapers and documentations written in that timeframe and collected oral testimonies from the individual's dependents such as sons and daughters to deduce specific real-life stories. Thus, the written texts and oral testimonies were triangulated to bolster the quality of the biographical narrative.
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All the languages in this world have their own oral history, but the criteria defined by the intellectuals and the supporting policies of the government acted as the death cause for many of the oral languages which had have a bright history.
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Our realities evolve by mutual consent. Our languages must evolve to keep up with the realities. They do not die any more than people die. They live on in memory and history.
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narratives, oral histories, videography adds to and enhances quantitative data analysis for efforts like this.
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Do you have a set of results from analyzing quantitative data? If so, you might use a mixed method approach called an "explanatory sequential design" where the follow-up qualitative methods gives you a better understanding of your quantitative results.
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Is there any theory on what is a pro-worker perspective on doing research is social sciences, (or on doing research “from below”)? There are of course, workers’ narratives and oral labour history, but have not come across anything substantial in terms of theory or methodology. Any suggestions, please?
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Hi George,
I'm not sure the field of social research that you are interested in, but we have found Appreciative Inquiry useful. It was developed in an organisational change context, and as a strength based approach it is arguably a pro-worker philosophy
The core principles are: (to cut and paste...)
Reality, as we know it, is a subjective vs. objective state and is socially created through language and conversations.
Inquiry creates change The moment we ask a question, we begin to create a change. “The questions we ask are fateful.
We can choose what we study Teams and organizations, like open books, are endless sources of study and learning. What we choose to study makes a difference. It describes – even creates – the world as we know it.
Images inspire action. Human systems move in the direction of their images of the future. The more positive and hopeful the image of the future, the more positive the present-day action.
Positive questions lead to positive change. Momentum for [small or] large-scale change requires large amounts of positive affect and social bonding. This momentum is best generated through positive questions that amplify the positive core
There is an introduction here:
Engaging in the approach has been found to have positive impact on worker / employee 'engagement', 'morale' etc
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János Besenyő is a Hungarian military historian and a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He would like to interview Hungarian veterans who have served in the Spanish Foreign Legion. Any material is welcome, including info on deceased Hungarian veterans and archival materials or Spanish publications.
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Thank you so much,  but this is an ongoing research project, that I am publishing on behalf of dr. Besenyő :-) I am not searching for a publication.
But thanks so much that you took time to look it up and answer, that was very thoughful of you.
Good luck in your own work :-)
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I find it time consuming to do transcriptions on my oral history interviews. Is there a software that will expedite the process.
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From my experience, Computer-generated transcription can provide some support. For example, you can upload your audio file to YouTube and click the box that generates a transcription. This is completely free — just be sure to mark your file as “private” if you’re just uploading to get the transcription. The singular caveat is that you there is a level of uncertainty on the accuracy side, that you still require you to confirm by checking.
Transcribe is another computer tool that can assist: https://transcribe.wreally.com
As the site suggests: Transcribe offers an audio player that's tightly integrated with a text editor on the same screen. In other words – you hear the text, and you type it. 
The plus side is that there is no more switching back and forth between the audio player and the editor.
Google Docs offers a speech to text option. It appears to work well and a big plus is that it is free. You can use it manually or go to: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/4492226?hl=en
Dragon voice recognition software is also another voice recognition software with potential; again, you have to consider the set up time to ensure the most accurate transcription – and this does not include the interviewees voice recognition.
Other options include:
Transcription services
Large transcription companies can give you cheaper rates if you’re not committed to working with a single transcriptionist. A few popular options include:
Transcribeme:  http://transcribeme.com
Offers transcription delivery within one to seven days. A 10-minute recording with two speakers and a two-to-three day turnaround, for instance, costs about $20. Longer recordings requested with one-day turnaround will be the most expensive, around $4 a minute.
 This service can accommodate almost any project. Its express service, with turnaround in 8-12 hours, costs $3.00 per minute. If you can wait up to a month for your completed transcription, you can pay as low as $.80 per minute.
Rev’s pricing is the most simple: just $1 per recorded minute with 24-hour turnaround. The only extras that cost more are adding timestamps or requesting verbatim transcription, in which you’ll see all of the “mmhmms” and “uhhs” that were recorded.
This service prices based on turnaround time and accuracy. The most expensive level, which guarantees 99% accuracy and includes speaker identification, costs $2.00 per minute with a five-to-seven-day turnaround. That rate goes up to $2.50 per minute if you need the file in a maximum of four days. Need it in a day? That’ll cost you $3.00 per recorded minute.
So, all in all, the best solution is likely a combination of the above based on your own time constraints, how quickly you will need the information, and whether or not you want to pay to have the services provided by someone else.
Lastly, I do know that a one hour interview will generate 20 -30 pages of typed notes, so taking time to identify the pros and cons of an approach is well worth the time and effort it will take you.
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Question inspired by Diamond Jenness' book of Inuit string figures collected during the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913. Inuit string figures depict animals in different states (e.g. birth, hunting), historical events, human relations, and other subjects. Should this practice be studied as a form of literacy?
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Hi Ted,
There is a book in print and available online in pdf (as well as on JSTOR):
Children's Folklore: a source book, eds, T.M. Johnson and F.R. McMahon, et al. Utah UP (1999),
This book has chapters on methodology and at least one on children's coding in games.
Also see:
American Children's Folklore, Simon J. Bronner, Little Rock: August House (1988).  In Chap. 10 there is a small section on string games.
Hope that helps,
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I am not sure how to approach discourse analysis in my work? Can someone give me an advice? I plan to employ oral history, content analysis, survey and discourse analysis in my study of Malaysian war journalists.
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Hi Pushpa,
That depends whether you would like to opt for CDA or DA, nevertheless, for a "high quality" research in content analysis you should consider the following concepts and categories accordingly:
Words
Terms
Themes
Characters
Items
Time-space
Appearance
Frequency
Intensity
Subject matter
In addition, within subject matter you can evaluate the following concepts:
Standard, values, methods. traits, actors, authority, origins, location & time, conflicts, and endings
I wish you all the best with your dissertation.
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Does the space where someone lives affect the way he/she understands and narrates his/her life?
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I just finished a review of a book that explores the marginalization of young men in a city in the country of Georgia. Martin Demant Frederiksen delves into both the temporal and spacial/architectural experiences of this group. Here is the citation for the book: Young Men, Time, and Boredom in the Republic of Georgia. Frederiksen, Martin Demant. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 2013. x+200 pp., ISBN: 978-1439909188.
Frederiksen cites another work on the experience of space in an urban setting: Tim Edensor's book, "Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality"
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I am a cultural anthropologist and work with traditional knowledge from oral sources. I'd like to know about the experience of research and methods in the application of oral sources / qualitative research in climatic change adaptation and mitigation, possibly in the so called 'developed countries' (i.e. Europe, North America, Australia etc.)
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Thanks for posing this important question. It is an urgent topic for field based social scientists to engage. As an anthropologist working on climate adaptation, I would agree that anthropology and human geography have been relatively marginal in the field, but I see that as an opportunity for us to step into the gap, an opportunity which more and more of us are jumping at. I totally agree that there needs to be more work on the lived processes of autonomous adapation to counter balance the current over emphasis on modeling and planning. In my own work (see my RG page), I have tried to articulate the some of the methodological and theoretical foundations for an anthropological approach to adaptation.
There is a good book on anthropology and climate change which can serve as a good starting point. Along with Carla Roncoli and Ben Orlove, I co-authored a chapter on anthropological method and epistemology relating the CC research. If you would like a copy of our chapter, please feel free to contact me directly.
I would recommend looking up other work by Ben and Carla (http://scholar.google.nl/citations?user=6ru1OMEAAAAJ&hl=en), both of whom have been leaders in the field.
Specifically regarding oral history and local knowledge, there is fair bit of good research going in the arctic areas. Julie Cruikshank's book "Do glaciers listen?" should be of interest to you.
In the arctic regions of Canada, there is quite some work being done on the co-production of knowledge between Inuit and research scientists. See references below.
Berkes, F. and D. Jolly. 2001. Adapting to climate change: social-ecological resilience in a Canadian western Arctic community. Conservation Ecology 5:18.
Cruikshank, J. 2001. Glaciers and Climate Change: Perspectives from Oral Tradition. Arctic 54:377-393.
Dowsley, M. 2009. Community clusters in wildlife and environmental management: using TEK and community involvement to improve co-management in an era of rapid environmental change. Polar Research 28:43-59.
Ford, J.; T. Pearce; B. Smit; J. Wandel; M. Allurut; K. Shappa; H. Ittusujurat; and K. Qrunnut. 2007. Reducing vulnerability to climate change in the Arctic: the case of Nunavut, Canada. Arctic 60:150-166.
Gearheard, S.; M. Pocernich; R. Stewart; J. Sanguya; and H. Huntington. 2010. Linking Inuit knowledge and meteorological station observations to understand changing wind patterns at Clyde River, Nunavut. Climatic Change 100:267-294.
Herman-Mercer, N.; P.F. Schuster; and K.B. Maracle. 2011. Indigenous Observations of Climate Change in the Lower Yukon River Basin, Alaska. Human Organization 70:244-252.
Huntington, H.; T. Callaghan; S. Fox; and I. Krupnik. 2004. Matching Traditional and Scientific Observations to Detect Environmental Change: A Discussion on Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystems. Ambio:18-23.
Huntington, H.P. 2005. "We Dance Around in a Ring and Suppose": Academic Engagement with Traditional Knowledge. Arctic Anthro. 42:29-32.
Laidler, G. 2006. Inuit and Scientific Perspectives on the Relationship Between Sea Ice and Climate Change: The Ideal Complement? Climatic Change 78:407-444.
Matthews, R. and R. Sydneysmith. 2010. Adaptive Capacity as a Dynamic Institutional Process: Conceptual Perspectives and Their Application. In Adaptive Capacity and Environmental Governance, ed. D. Armitage and R. Plummer, 223-242. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer
Nichols, T.; F. Berkes; D. Jolly; N.B. Snow; and N. Sachs Harbour. 2004. Climate change and sea ice: Local observations from the Canadian Western Arctic. Arctic 57:68-79.
Pearce, T.D.; J.D. Ford; G.J. Laidler; B. Smit; F. Duerden; M. Allarut; M. Andrachuk; S. Baryluk; A. Dialla; P. Elee; A. Goose; T. Ikummaq; E. Joamie; F. Kataoyak; E. Loring; S. Meakin; S. Nickels; K. Shappa; J. Shirley; and J. Wandel. 2009. Community collaboration and climate change research in the Canadian Arctic. Polar Research 28:10-27.
Pennesi, K.; J. Arokium; and G. McBean. in press. Integrating local and scientific weather knowledge as a strategy for adaptation to climate change in the Arctic. Mitigation and adaptation strategies for global change:1-26.
Sakakibara, C. 2011. Climate Change and Cultural Survival in the Arctic: People of the Whales and Muktuk Politics. Weather, Climate, and Society 3:76-89.
Smith, H.A. and K. Sharp. 2012. Indigenous climate knowledges. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 3:467-476.
Thornton, T.F. and N. Manasfi. 2010. AdaptationGenuine and Spurious: Demystifying Adaptation Processes in Relation to Climate Change. Environment and Society: Advances in Research 1:132-155.
Wenzel, G.W. 2009. Canadian Inuit subsistence and ecological instability— if the climate changes, must the Inuit? Polar Research 28:89-99.
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I'm a cultural anthropologist, I work on traditional knowledges and intangible cultural heritages. My main sources of data are audio and video recording that I analyse with a qualitative analysis software (I use Transana http://www.transana.org, but i can change if needed). I need to integrate the data from the qualitative analysis (video, audio, text and categories) in a GIS. I know that I can 'cut' clip video or audio clip and insert in the GIS like photos and text. But I need to keep clip in the context of registration for different motivation: 1. for interpretative purpose 2. Because the analysis will be a continuous progress. 3. the database of video recording is big and growing (more than 100 hours).
I'd like to use software for the analysis, coding the content, integrate the coding with the georefererentiation (i.e. recording place, cited place in the account, area of influence of the knowledge ecc.) and connect with a GIS for a visual representation. I try to explain: I.e. I have 50hours of interviews on traditional land use and ethnobotanic knowledge. Some of the information will be used for traditional land right, other for sustainable management, other for food security and food sovereignty ecc. One of the query could be: let me see all the sentences about the ethnobotanical knowledge (that will have some sub categories, food, medicinal, symbolic ecc. ) on a specific plant species, and which area is connected with the single account. Or may be all the accounts about a traditional use of a specific area.
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Dear Fabio,
for my experience you need a customized application for your data. I supported during the year the development of the JGrass (http://www.jgrass.org) open source GIS (now included in uDIg: http://udig.refractions.net) and I know that the companies that are now developing the software are certainly able to find the way to support your needs.
You can certainly inquiry andrea.antonello@hydrologis.eu or silvia.franceschi@hydrologis.eu for a more detailed and technical answer.
I am also sure that the other softwares that hydrologis (one of the above companies) developed could be useful for your work (as BeeGIS, http://www.beegis.org, and Geopaparazzi, free on Android Market - http://code.google.com/p/geopaparazzi/).