An Axiomatic Study of Query Terms Order in Ad-Hoc Retrieval

  • Ayyoob ImaniEmail author
  • Amir Vakili
  • Ali Montazer
  • Azadeh Shakery
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11438)


Classic retrieval methods use simple bag-of-word representations for queries and documents. This representation fails to capture the full semantic richness of queries and documents. More recent retrieval models have tried to overcome this deficiency by using approaches such as incorporating dependencies between query terms, using bi-gram representations of documents, proximity heuristics, and passage retrieval. While some of these previous works have implicitly accounted for term order, to the best of our knowledge, term order has not been the primary focus of any research. In this paper, we will show that documents that have two query terms in the same order as in the query have a higher probability of being relevant than documents that have two query terms in the reverse order. Using the axiomatic framework for information retrieval, we introduce a constraint that retrieval models must adhere to in order to effectively utilize term order dependency among query terms. We modify two existing robust retrieval models based on this constraint. Our empirical evaluation using both TREC newswire and web corpora demonstrates that the modified retrieval models significantly outperform their original counterparts.


Query term order Axiomatic analysis SDM PLM 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayyoob Imani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amir Vakili
    • 1
  • Ali Montazer
    • 2
  • Azadeh Shakery
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.University of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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