Since the founding of the Oral History Association in 1967, oral history has transformed the way many historians study the past. Historians use oral history to record the testimony of informants who were eyewitnesses to historical events. Oral history has provided social and cultural historians, in particular, with a rich body of evidence for historical actors who have not left written records of their experiences. This recorded testimony becomes a primary source available to a wide range of researchers once transcribed and published or deposited in an archive.
The Oral History Tool of Research at American University trains graduate students in this methodology according to the Oral History Association's professional guidelines entitled, Principles and Standards of the Oral History Association.
Students who are using Oral History as a Tool of Research qualify by passing the Oral History course, HIST 667, with a grade of B+ or better. Students must complete a TOR form in the History Department office.