The Project Themes

The initial project design called for a number of themes to be the foci of the oral history interviews. The Cambridge team, in conjunction with the interviewers, developed a total of 10 main, or 'A', themes, and eleven minor, or 'B', themes. The original intention was to focus roughly 10 percent of the total interviews on each of the 10 A themes, with hopefully one or two B themes included in interview. In final analysis, we ended up with a more free-form interviewing approach, but did also commission a certain number of interviews on each theme. The themes, with a few additions, were also used for the keywording the interviews.

For each theme, rather than supply questions we (the Cambridge team) wanted asked, we tried to provide general questions, questions to indicate what paths of inquiry we as anthropologists would be most interested in. In the end, however, we left it to the interviewers themselves to determine, in conjunction with the people interviewed, the best approach to each individual theme and interview. We did not want simply to have a series of questions that the team would read off of a list. Rather, the questions were suggested as an idea of how we might approach a question, and to spur their own ideas and approaches.

Clicking on the theme name will open a popup window with the questions we offered as guides.