Thesis Title
User-centered Non-factoid Answer Retrieval

Research Description
Marwah’s research aims to examine the assumptions that are made about users when searching for non-factoid answers using search engines. That is, the way they approach non-factoid question-answering tasks, the language they use to express their questions, the variability in their queries and their behaviour towards the provided answers. The investigation will also examine the extent to which these neglected factors affect retrieval performance and potentially guide the development of more realistic methodologies and test collections that capture the real nature of this task.

Marwah is interested in understanding how users interact with search engines and how we can use that understanding for designing user-centered information retrieval systems. She is currently investigating ways to help users answer complex information needs beyond the use of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Her Ph.D. research particularly focuses on how users vary in the way they seek information for complex information needs and the impact of that variation on retrieval effectiveness. This should enable equally effective retrieval systems regardless of the observed variations among users.

Prof Mark Sanderson, RMIT University
Professor Falk Scholer, RMIT University
Paul Thomas, Microsoft Research