Relevance-assisted Generation for Robust Zero-shot Retrieval




Zero-shot retrieval tasks such as the BEIR benchmark reveal out-of-domain generalization as a key weakness of high-performance dense retrievers. As a solution, domain adaptation for dense retrievers has been actively studied. A notable approach is synthesizing domain-specific data, by generating pseudo queries (PQ), for fine-tuning with domain-specific relevance between PQ and documents. Our contribution is showing that key biases can cause sampled PQ to be irrelevant, negatively contributing to generalization. We propose to preempt their generation, by dividing the generation into simpler subtasks, of generating relevance explanations and guiding the generation to avoid negative generalization. Experiment results show that our proposed approach is more robust to domain shifts, validated on challenging BEIR zero-shot retrieval tasks.

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