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Margaret O’Mara | Writing the History of the Present: Qualitative Methodology in The Code

July 19, 2019

How does a qualitative historical researcher build an archive of very recent history, and of an industry that is often too busy building the future to preserve the documents of the past? Historian Margaret O’Mara discusses the six-year research process informing The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America, her recently published history of tech from the 1940s to the present. O’Mara will discuss why she considers qualitative analysis to be critically important in documenting the history and study of business and of technology, and she will describe how she overcame data challenges and built a body of qualitative evidence using a mix of established archives, corporate documents, first-person interviews, and journalistic sources.

Margaret O’Mara is the Howard & Frances Keller Professor of History at the University of Washington. You can find out more about her research and teaching at

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