Plan and research

Students at the Hands on History showcase at Immigration Museum.

Here you'll find advice on how to plan and research your digital history and conduct interviews, along with links to research guides and online collections.

Plan your investigation

Brainstorm local history ideas. Take a look at the four themes and choose one. Read through the Small Object Big Story website, which is a comprehensive guide to planning, researching and displaying family and community stories. Use the research guides listed at the bottom of the page to get started.

Watch the expert videos and web conferences to get advice from historians about how to conduct your research and interview people.

Research your story

Research your story using sources such as newspapers, websites, history books, historical societies, clubs and organisations, council offices, services (eg, the fire station), and retirement homes. Talk to people, ask questions, be curious: one of these people might point you to someone you can interview, or might agree to be interviewed themself.

Conduct your interview

Capture your interviewee's story in whatever way you want – you can video them, make an audio recording of their story, or write notes to turn into text or a voiceover. It's up to you how your digital history will look and what you want to include. Be sure to read through the filming tips for advice about using a video camera to record an interview.

Important: All interviewees must give their consent to appear in your digital history. Use the participant agreement form to do this.

Gather material

Collect photos, documents, letters and other material related to your interviewee's story. Use the links at the bottom of this page to find material to use in your video.

Important: Everything in your video must be original work (created by you) or work that you have permission to use.You must also reference all your material at the end of your digital history. See Using and sourcing material for guidelines about what can and cannot be used in your digital history, including an explanation of Creative Commons licensed work, and how to collect the information needed to reference your sources.

Always check the copyright status of material you want to use. If it is not stated, see if you can find out what it is. If you cannot find out, do not use it. Remember, just because something is online does not mean you have permission to use it.

Research Guides

Online Collections

Creative Commons resources