The Philosophy of Information Retrieval Evaluation
Ellen M. Voorhees
Evaluation conferences such as TREC, CLEF, and NTCIR are modern examples of the Cranfield evaluation paradigm. In the Cranfield paradigm, researchers perform experiments on test collections to compare the relative effectiveness of different retrieval approaches. The test collections allow the researchers to control the effects of different system parameters, increasing the power and decreasing the cost of retrieval experiments as compared to user-based evaluations. This paper reviews the fundamental assumptions and appropriate uses of the Cranfield paradigm, especially as they apply in the context of the evaluation conferences.