Step 1: Record Your Oral History

Oral History Guidelines

If you would like to participate as an interviewer or if you are faculty member who would like to incorporate oral histories into you course, we have created a training module and guide to walk you through the necessary steps. The training module includes the necessary informed consent documents as well as information on transcription and upload procedures.

You can access the training module at

If you have questions about the training module, please contact Professor Jason M. Kelly at


Record Your Story

In a traditional oral history, there is an interviewer and an interviewee. But, there are other ways to create oral histories as well. If you would like to record your own story, we invite you to record using your smartphone or tablet, a computer, or a recording device. Find the quietest room you can and place the recording device in front of you--ideally within two feet of where you are sitting.

How to Record on a Smartphone or Tablet

Many smartphones and tablets have built in voice recording apps. On iOS, the default app is Voice Memos. Android phones do not have a default app, but you can download one for free. Among these apps are Voice Recorder and Voice Record Pro.

How to Record on a Computer

Like Apple smartphones, their computers have the built-in voice recording app, Voice Memos. Windows machines use the built-in program, Voice Recorder. If you wanted to record a video of your oral history, you could create a recording using Zoom.

How to Record on an Audio Recorder

Each voice recorder is unique, so you should check your user's manual. To upload the file to The COVID-19 Oral History Project, you will need to transfer the recording to your computer.


In a traditional oral history project, interviewers ask question to interviewees, which often takes the form of a conversation. In this project, you will, in effect, be interviewing yourself. To help you with this process, we have created a set of questions for you to answer. These questions cover a range of topics that will help future researchers better understand how people experienced the COVID-19 pandemic.

The questions below are prompts to help you complete your own oral history. You can answer all of them or some of them. And, you can add your own questions. You do not have to complete questions in the order listed below.

You do not have to record your answers in a single sitting, but if you record your answers on multiple dates, please be sure to include the date and time at the beginning of any new recording sessions.

Oral histories are most beneficial when interviewees provide as much information and detail as possible. Interviewers often elicit this information through follow-up questions. Since you are interviewing yourself, you will not have the benefit of somebody asking you follow-up questions. So, be sure that your responses to the questions are as complete as possible.

Please remember that any answers you give will be included in a publicly accessible database, so please do not share any information that you would not like to be publicly available.

Be sure to turn on your recording device before you begin answering these questions.

Background Questions


Family and Household





The Future