by Claudia Hauff, Leif Azzopardi, and Djoerd Hiemstra
In this paper, we examine a number of newly applied methods for combining pre-retrieval query performance predictors in order to obtain a better prediction of the query's performance. However, in order to adequately and appropriately compare such techniques, we critically examine the current evaluation methodology and show how using linear correlation coefficients (i) do not provide an intuitive measure indicative of a method's quality, (ii) can provide a misleading indication of performance, and (iii) overstate the performance of combined methods. To address this, we extend the current evaluation methodology to include cross validation, report a more intuitive and descriptive statistic, and apply statistical testing to determine significant differences. During the course of a comprehensive empirical study over several TREC collections, we evaluate nineteen pre-retrieval predictors and three combination methods.
The paper will be presented at the 31st European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR), April 6-9, 2009 in Toulouse, France.