The list of topics which guided the interviewers' work in the lower deck project is given below, as one example of subject delineation in oral history research. The field of study was first broken down into the following main areas:

a Background and enlistment
b Training
c Dress
d Ships
e Work
f Mess room life
g Rations and victualling
h Discipline
i Religion
j Traditions and customs
k Foreign service
l Home ports
m Pay and benefits
n Naval operations
o Effects of the war
p Family life
q Post service experience

Each of these topics was examined in some detail, the extent and nature of which may be demonstrated by one example. Thus, in dealing with the subject of 'Discipline', the following questions influenced the interviewers' approach:

a. What was the standard and nature of discipline on the lower deck? Who influenced it? Did it vary much?

b. What were the most common offences? What were the most extreme? How were they punished?

c. Was the discipline fair? Was it possible to appeal effectively against any unfair treatment, if it occurred?

d. What was the lower deck's attitude to naval police? How much and what sort of power did they have? Did they ever abuse their authority?

e. What were relations like between the lower deck and commissioned officers, 'ranker' officers, NCOs and the Marines?

f. Was there any code of informal discipline or constraint on the lower deck? What kind of behaviour was considered unacceptable and how would it be dealt with?

g. Who were the most influential members of the lower deck? Was their influence based on any factors other than rank?