Using Oral and Documentary Sources to Explore Histories of Midwifery

Abstract

This case study explores the use of local history perspectives to tell the story of district midwifery across a short historical time frame. It discusses the different types of evidence used to create a narrative describing the working lives of midwives. It considers the use of oral history and documentary sources to build up a picture. The case study reflects on the problems inherent in using detailed personal records about a time which is still in living memory and draws attention to a variety of practical and ethical considerations in carrying out the research. The importance of reflexivity when the researcher is not only an academic historian but also a midwife is discussed, with the strengths and challenges of this perspective being considered.

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