GenQREnsemble: Zero-Shot LLM Ensemble Prompting for Generative Query Reformulation

Lecture Notes in Computer Science Advances in Information Retrieval(2024)

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Abstract
Query Reformulation(QR) is a set of techniques used to transform a user's original search query to a text that better aligns with the user's intent and improves their search experience. Recently, zero-shot QR has been shown to be a promising approach due to its ability to exploit knowledge inherent in large language models. By taking inspiration from the success of ensemble prompting strategies which have benefited many tasks, we investigate if they can help improve query reformulation. In this context, we propose an ensemble based prompting technique, GenQREnsemble which leverages paraphrases of a zero-shot instruction to generate multiple sets of keywords ultimately improving retrieval performance. We further introduce its post-retrieval variant, GenQREnsembleRF to incorporate pseudo relevant feedback. On evaluations over four IR benchmarks, we find that GenQREnsemble generates better reformulations with relative nDCG@10 improvements up to 18 the previous zero-shot state-of-art. On the MSMarco Passage Ranking task, GenQREnsembleRF shows relative gains of 5 and 9
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