Tension Analysis

Oral history interviews involve complex social interactions and different factors highly influence the interview situation such as complexity of human lives, age, intelligence, personal quality, etc. Both the interviewer and the interviewee contribute to these components during this dialectical process and often it generates a situation which can be difficult for both parties, causing unpredictable emotional responses by the interviewee which changes the interview dynamics. Tension can thus occur, as a result of conflict of interest or uneasiness. Understanding these factors and the turning points in an interview is important for the interviewers to understand the process of interviewing and also for self-awareness.

Tension Analysis aims to identify the tensions in transcribed and translated interview transcripts by leveraging a list of potential indicators of tension including the use of hedging and boosting in the language, the sign of reticence, and emotion of the interviewees from their interview responses. We also consider prosodic cues such as laugh and silence as signs of reticence. This tool also identifies traces of tension in the situations when an interviewee gives unusually long or short answers for a specific question type. In summary, this tool identifies possible tension places which the researchers can review to identify the actual tension occurrences.