History and Government: What are the limitations of Oral sources?

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CHAPTER ONE

1 b iv). State the limitations of Oral sources 

In spite of the above, oral sources have a number of limitations:

  • They suffer from distortion due to loss of memory of the narrator.
  • Some have a problem of biasness and exaggeration. This depends on the community one is talking about, If it is one’s own community, the narrator tends to over-praise certain happenings by underplaying the enemy’s community.
  • Misinterpretation/misquotation of information: This happens when the listener does not understand exactly what the narrator is saying or implying. Sometimes information received is misinterpreted or misquoted.
  • There are missing gaps or links. In a number of stories, there is some information missing and this makes the story incomplete.

To overcome the above limitations, after getting information through oral sources, the teacher has to cross-check this with other sources if there are any to assess the reliability of the information. This will give oral sources a high order of reliability

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