Component-Based Analysis of Dynamic Search Performance


In many search scenarios, such as exploratory, comparative, or survey-oriented search, users interact with dynamic search systems to satisfy multi-aspect information needs. These systems utilize different dynamic approaches that exploit various user feedback granularity types. Although studies have provided insights about the role of many components of these systems, they used black-box and isolated experimental setups. Therefore, the effects of these components or their interactions are still not well understood. We address this by following a methodology based on Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). We built a Grid Of Points that consists of systems based on different ways to instantiate three components: initial rankers, dynamic rerankers, and user feedback granularity. Using evaluation scores based on the TREC Dynamic Domain collections, we built several ANOVA models to estimate the effects. We found that (i) although all components significantly affect search effectiveness, the initial ranker has the largest effective size, (ii) the effect sizes of these components vary based on the length of the search session and the used effectiveness metric, and (iii) initial rankers and dynamic rerankers have more prominent effects than user feedback granularity. To improve effectiveness, we recommend improving the quality of initial rankers and dynamic rerankers. This does not require eliciting detailed user feedback, which might be expensive or invasive.

ACM Trans. Inf. Syst.