When thinking about facts and perspectives, facts are often given more value. But who decides what is a fact and what is not? While History is fact-based, we cannot understand it and derive meaning from it without interpretation and explanation to give facts a frame of reference, in other words, a perspective. 

How does understanding the relationship between facts and perspectives support our historical research? How do perspectives go hand in hand with facts, allowing us to make sense of what happened? How can perspectives enrich our understanding of the past?


  • Understand the relationship between facts and perspectives, and the value of perspectives in history making

Time and Materials

90 mins

  • Flip chart papers
  • Sticky Notes stacks (2 colors)
  • Markers (different colors)


Warm-up (20 minutes): 

Each participant writes their definition of facts and perspectives on a sticky note  (facts on one color and perspectives on another).

We collect the sticky notes and put them on 2 different flipcharts (one for facts and one for perspectives).

We divide the participants into 2 groups (Group 1: Facts, Group 2: Perspectives). Each group takes its designated flipchart and discusses and clusters the different definitions.

After 15 min, each group presents the outcome of its discussions to the other.


Group Work (30 minutes):

We then divide the participants into 3 groups, where each group will think through the below cases in order to identify as many perspectives and facts as possible they have towards the case. They collect their ideas in table-form on a flipchart and explain the relationships they found between facts and perspectives. 

  • Group 1: (on being a Lebanese, a Palestinian, or a Syrian national in Lebanon) 
  • Group 2: (on being a man or a women in Lebanon) 
  • Group 3: (on being a member of a political party or being an activist in an NGO in Lebanon)
Group 1           Perspectives                     Facts              
Being a Lebanese national
Being a Palestinian national
Being a Syrian national


Group 2      Perspectives                    Facts         
Being a man in Lebanon
Being a woman in Lebanon


Group 3          Perspectives               Facts    
Being a member of a political party
Being an activist in an NGO


Group Presentations (20 minutes):

Each group presents their work on a flip chart. After each presentation, the other participants  are invited to add any further facts and perspectives to the presented cases. 


Plenary Discussion (20 minutes):

We conclude the session by holding an open discussion with the group, asking participants about their impressions of the session and concluding with them how facts and perspectives are created and related. We also present examples and try to understand how dealing with facts and perspectives affects Oral History work.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is your overall impression or observations after the group presentations?
  • How do you think facts are created and perspectives are shaped?
  • How can our understanding of history change when we add perspectives to facts? 
  • What could be the value of different perspectives in history? 
  • How could Oral History offer these perspectives?

Notes and Tips for the Facilitator

  • Feel free to adapt the cases based on your context. Make sure to choose diverse enough topics in order for participants to come up with many different facts and perspectives. 
  • By engaging in discussion during this session, we highlight the idea that there is not a clear dividing line between facts and perspectives. While facts can be described as events that actually happened and perspectives can be defined as the way people interpret these events, facts are often used to substantiate or support a certain perspective. In other words, perspectives are based on a selection of facts. In this sense, facts and perspectives are interdependent.
  • We emphasize how Oral History focuses on bringing attention to perspective, and understanding or making (sense) meaning of events that have happened. It is about respecting human nature, as none of us has the complete truth. This understanding reinforces how the concept of  multi-perspectivity is critical to Oral History.

Sources and Further Reading