Are Large Language Models Good Evaluators for Abstractive Summarization?

Chenhui Shen, Liying Cheng, Yang You, Lidong Bing

Human evaluations are often required for abstractive summary evaluations to give fairer judgments. However, they are often time-consuming, costly, inconsistent, and non-reproducible. To overcome these challenges, we explore the potential of using an out-of-the-box LLM (i.e. "gpt-3.5-turbo") for summarization evaluation without manually selecting demonstrations or complex prompt tuning. We compare different evaluation methods, including 2 methods for Likert-scale scoring and 1 method for head-to-head comparisons, to investigate the performance of the LLM as a zero-shot evaluator. We further propose a meta-correlation metric to measure the stability of the LLM's evaluation capability. With extensive experiments, we show that certain prompt formats can produce better results than others. We also bring attention to the LLM's deteriorating evaluation capability with the rising qualities of summaries. In addition, we find that the LLM's evaluation capability also depends on the evaluated dimensions. We discuss the pros and cons of each method, make recommendations, and suggest some future directions for improvement.

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