Mind Your Language: Effects of Spoken Query Formulation on Retrieval Effectiveness

Apoorv Narang, Srikanta Bedathur

Voice search is becoming a popular mode for interacting with search engines. As a result, research has gone into building better voice transcription engines, interfaces, and search engines that better handle inherent verbosity of queries. However, when one considers its use by non- native speakers of English, another aspect that becomes important is the formulation of the query by users. In this paper, we present the results of a preliminary study that we conducted with non-native English speakers who formulate queries for given retrieval tasks. Our results show that the current search engines are sensitive in their rankings to the query formulation, and thus highlights the need for developing more robust ranking methods.

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