Oral History Association Statement on Ethics
Oral historians have ethical obligations that are both specific to oral history methodology and shared with other methodologies and practices, ranging from anthropology to archival work. Ethics encompasses the principles that should govern the multiple relationships inherent in oral history. Everyone involved in oral history work, from interviewers and narrators to archivists and researchers, becomes part of a web of mutual responsibility working to ensure that the narrator’s perspective, dignity, privacy, and safety are respected. This statement draws upon the decades of thoughtful work concerning the appropriate way to engage with humans as participants in research projects.
Here we offer general principles for practicing oral history in an ethical way. These points represent the beginning of the path toward becoming an ethical oral historian, rather than its culmination.