Narrative Question Answering with Cutting-Edge Open-Domain QA Techniques: A Comprehensive Study

Xiangyang Mou, Chenghao Yang, Mo Yu, Bingsheng Yao, Xiaoxiao Guo, Saloni Potdar, Hui Su

Recent advancements in open-domain question answering (ODQA), i.e., finding answers from large open-domain corpus like Wikipedia, have led to human-level performance on many datasets. However, progress in QA over book stories (Book QA) lags behind despite its similar task formulation to ODQA. This work provides a comprehensive and quantitative analysis about the difficulty of Book QA: (1) We benchmark the research on the NarrativeQA dataset with extensive experiments with cutting-edge ODQA techniques. This quantifies the challenges Book QA poses, as well as advances the published state-of-the-art with a $\sim$7\% absolute improvement on Rouge-L. (2) We further analyze the detailed challenges in Book QA through human studies.\footnote{\url{https://github.com/gorov/BookQA}.} Our findings indicate that the event-centric questions dominate this task, which exemplifies the inability of existing QA models to handle event-oriented scenarios.

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