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Oral history as a key methodology in higher degree research in writing : issues and possibilities
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Donna BrienDonna Brien, Jillian AdamsJillian Adams
“Memory is a resource beyond the reach of any library”, writes culinary historian Laura Schapiro in the foreword of her book on women and cooking in 1950s America. In historically based non-fiction projects such as Shapiro’s, oral history can locate stories that add a compelling reality and immediacy to the work and provide materials that revise current beliefs about an era. This paper considers oral history as a key methodology in current higher degree research and thesis writing. Drawing on, and profiling, some representative projects in the field of creative writing, it shows that the findings from oral histories are valuable in thesis construction and writing, and are particularly suited to producing material for research and mainstream publication in both print and online forms. It also outlines some of the challenges and issues involved in using oral history as a research method in postgraduate theses in creative writing.