CLIN 2005 Abstracts
  • Question analysis for why-question answering
    Suzan Verberne (Radboud University of Nijmegen)
    Lou Boves (Radboud University of Nijmegen)
    Nelleke Oostdijk (Radboud University of Nijmegen)

    In research in the field of automatic question answering (QA), question analysis plays an important role. The goal of question analysis is to create a representation of the user's information need. The long term goal of our research is developing an approach for automatically answering why-questions. So far, no question analysis methods have been created for why-questions specifically. Therefore, we have developed an approach for analysis of why-questions. Our method for why-question analysis is based on existing methods of analysis of factoid questions. The most important and central component of these question analysis methods is determining the semantic answer type. For why-questions, the answer type is reason. We split this answer type in four sub-types: cause, motivation, circumstance, and purpose. We aim at creating a question analysis module that is able to predict the specific sub-type. In the analysis of factoid questions, the question word (who, what, where, etc) often gives the needed information on the expected answer type. In case of why, the question word does not give information on the semantic type since all why-questions have why as question word. This means that other information from the question is needed for determining the semantic sub-type. We decided to use syntactic categorization for determining the expected answer type. In a comparison to manual classification, our question analysis module assigned the correct semantic sub-type to 62 percent of the why-questions, the wrong sub-type to 2 percent, and no sub-type to the other 36 percent. These results are satisfactory for further development of our question analysis method and our why-QA approach in general.