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The number of oral historians in British universities is relatively small. And oral historians tend to spread throughout university departments, including sociology, health and social care, politics and, occasionally, in history. Like other academics they keep their jobs by publishing in academic journals and winning funding from research councils. However, this means that there is a lack of critical mass, both in numbers and concentration. This in turn results in 'peer review' processes that decide on grants and publications invariably involving non-oral historians, who may not be informed about or sympathetic towards oral history.

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Most of the challenges raised in women's oral history can be applied more broadly. For example, Susan Armitage's () and Sherna Berger Gluck's () dilemma as expressed in their question, 'How do we simultaneously understand and document women's subordination and resistance?' is applicable to all oral historians. And indeed the question can become even more interesting when we consider how race, ethnicity and class might combine with gender.

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At the heart of oral history is the interview. Oral historians have argued that in interviewing living witnesses they established a different relationship with the past in contrast to other historians. However, the Popular Memory Group () were to raise concerns that insufficient attention was being paid to the unequal relationship between professional historians and other participants in oral history projects. This led in part to greater consideration being given to intersubjectivity and the power relations between interviewers and interviewees, researchers and researched.

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Allows direct, dialogic feedback: Oral exams provide instructors with an excellent opportunity to immediately diagnose and correct any major misconceptions. The face to face dialogue, through which this occurs, as well as the high-level, holistic nature of well written oral questions, creates an intense experience conducive to breakthroughs in student understanding of material. For this reason, oral exams are well suited for final exams, giving instructors one last chance to greatly affect student knowledge.

Encourages in-depth preparation: The unique anxiety associated with both public speaking and testing can provide a powerful impetus for student preparation, especially because good oral examination questions will center on synthesis and overall evaluation of material.

Demands different skills: Students are tested frequently, yet those tests are almost exclusively either written essay exams or standardized tests. Rarely do those students more skilled at making an oral argument than a written one get a chance to display their mastery of course content in the format where they display the most acumen.

Valuable practice for future professional activity: Whether they apply to graduate schools or try the job market, most students will find their futures heavily influenced by brief, stress-filled oral interviews for which they have received little preparation. Oral exams can help students to develop the necessary ability to remain collected while cogently answering difficult questions.

Reduced grading stress:Oral examinations can require severe schedule juggling and the sacrifice of some additional time by the instructor so that each student has an available time to take the test. However, as long as time is taken beforehand to carefully choose grading criteria and design a rubric, these exams offer many of the advantages associated with essay exams, such as developing skill in organization, synthesis, evaluation, and critical thinking, with much less grading hassle.

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Trained to depend on written records, traditional historians have been known to shudder in horror at the potential problems and inherent weaknesses of oral history. What of the failings of human memory? What of the human tendency to impose a narrative structure on events that may not be closely connected? What of the self-serving motives of the story teller? What of the power relationships between interviewer and interviewee that affect what and how events are reported? What of the differences between the spoken and written word? What of the inaccuracies that creep into meaning when trying to put a conversation onto paper?

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For centuries the use of oral sources in understanding the past was commonplace. Thucydides, the Greek historian writing in the 5th century BC, made much of the accounts of eye-witnesses of the Peloponnesian Wars, 'Whose reports', he claimed, 'I have checked with as much thoroughness as possible'.() By the time Bede came to write his , completed in 731 AD, he simply noted his thanks to 'countless faithful witnesses who either know or remember the facts'.() Even as late as 1773 Samuel Johnson expressed a keen interest in oral histories and oral tradition in his study of Scottish beliefs and customs