In this section you describe where and under what circumstances you collected the item. If possible, tell where and under what circumstances the informant came by the folklore item (text).
The questions listed are suggestions. The kind of questions you ask are dictated by the kind of item you collect. For example, if you are collecting a family song from your mother, you would want to ask her where it came from and why she sings it when she does. Who is normally there when this song is sung? Do other people join in? If it's a quilter you're interviewing, you will want to ask (or observe) where the quilting is done and who else is there. Is there also a larger group of people (like the extended family) who are the recipients of these quilts and whose tastes or family situations help to determine what design is used and who will get it? Note: if the word "context" is still unclear to you, look it up in a dictionary.
- Where is this item normally performed/told/sung/made?
- Were other people present when the item was heard or observed, and if so, who were they?
- In what way were those other people a part of the performance of the item or text?
- How does this item function for the group in which it is normally encountered?
"Text" comes from Latin textus, "a woven object." We use it in folklore to refer to whatever the created expression is that we have collected. This might be a legend, a barn, a recipe, a song, a joke, a family celebration, a traditional holiday occurrence of some kind, a folk game, a folk toy, a riddle, a quilt design: one example of a folk expression. Even if you have several brief items--like proverbs--each one goes on a separate page. If you have a long story, it can be carried over onto subsequent pages. Double-space this section so it can be more readily studied.
In this section, you talk about the "feel" or the style of the item, the way the text was expressed or produced:
- Was the delivery or performance a part of the meaning? In what way?
- Is it funny? If so, why? What particular words, or puns, or thoughts produce the humor?
- Is it believed or believable?
- Were gestures, intonations, nuances utilized by the performer which are not evident in the text but had a lot to do with the meaning?
- Was color important?
- Was the time of day or year important?
- Does this item have an "automatic meaning" for those who use it? If so, what does it suggest to the performer or group that the text or performance or photo itself does not make clear?
- Are there taboos or sanctions associated with the item or production, performance or distribution of the "text"?
At the bottom of each page put your full name. At the lower right corner of the last page, list the following:
Your address while at USU
Your permanent home address
Semester and year
For reference questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (435) 797-2869.|
Fife Folklore Archives, Merrill Library, Utah State University Libraries, Logan Utah 84322-3032