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The effects of topic familiarity on user search behavior in question answering systems

Al-Maskari, A. and Sanderson, M. (2006) The effects of topic familiarity on user search behavior in question answering systems. In: Proceedings of the LWA 2006 Workshop. LWA 2006: Lernen - Wissensentdeckung - Adaptivität, October 9th-11th 2006, Hildesheim. , pp. 132-137.


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This paper reports on experiments that attempt to characterize the relationship between users and their knowledge of the search topic in a Question Answering (QA) system. It also investigates user search behavior with respect to the length of answers presented by a QA system. Two lengths of answers were compared; snippets (one to two sentences of text) and exact answers. A user test was conducted, 92 factoid questions were judged by 44 participants, to explore the participants’ preferences, feelings and opinions about QA system tasks. The conclusions drawn from the results were that participants preferred and obtained higher accuracy in finding answers from the snippets set. However, accuracy varied according to users’ topic familiarity; users were only substantially helped by the wider context of a snippet if they were already familiar with the topic of the question, without such familiarity, users were about as accurate at locating answers from the snippets as they were in exact set.

Item Type: Proceedings Paper
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Information School (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2008 16:49
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 16:56
Published Version: http://web1.bib.uni-hildesheim.de/edocs/2007/52208...
Status: Published
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/4506

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