Využitie ústnych prameňov v historickom výskume

The Use of Oral Sources in Historical Research

Oral sources bear several special and problematic characteristics. Paper deals with their main features. Oral sources offer data about historical events, phenomenon, and processes as well as narrator's personal experiences. Evaluations and interpretations of wider social and historical phenomena bear narrator's individuality and subjectivity. It is essential to place individual oral evidence in the broader context of past political, economical and structural circumstances. Time-lag between historical events and the recording of oral evidence must be taken into consideration. Oral evidences play crucial role in the research of communist totalitarian regime. Communist power applied censorship and tabooed several events and topics. There is a lack of data about them. Oral evidences fill this absence. Author is focusing also on the character of historical sources from communist era – private and official documents were influenced by repressive character of political power. Written information were carefully selected, "problematic" data were dropped. Symbolic language and auto-censorship were applied. The use of oral sources in historical research is facing the serious problem of application of rigorous research method. Oral sources and the method are at bottom inseparable. Author states her position on this issue and offers definition of oral history method. She considers oral history method as the independent scientific method, consisting of (1) leading interview and recording oral evidences, (2) production of oral source – transcription of recordings and record protocol, (3) analysis and (4) interpretation of oral sources. In the context of the oral history method author defines oral source, witch consists of audio- or video-recordings, transcription and protocol. All three components must be considered during analysis. Author draws attention to narrator's and researcher's role in the process of oral evidence's recording, analysis and interpretations. She points out other issues, e. g. stylization, variability and actualization of memories, shifts in opinion and evaluation, narrator's self-definition, auto-censorship, generalization of collected data. Paper emphasizes the researcher's ethic, which is moral imperative in qualitative research.