Information Retrieval Research Group


Our work in Information Retrieval (IR) involves studying how people find and use information, as well as developing new computational techniques to enhance the user’s search experience. In our research we study the interactions between people, information and retrieval systems to support the development of effective search technologies, regardless of domain and task, information use environment, and type of information. Our multidisciplinary team draws together skills from computer science, information science and human computer and information interaction. We have collaborated in our research with external academic and non-academic partners, funded by national and international funding bodies. Through our research we aim to enrich the user’s search experience and further our understanding of how people find and interact with information.

Key research areas

The research we undertake is built upon a holistic view of IR that includes consideration of the user, the system and context of use. Current research in the IR group is informed by three core areas of activity:

  • The study of human computer and information interaction to understand user cognition and search behaviour with respect to the interactivity involved in information access and use.
  • The development of novel solutions to information access problems, ranging from the development of specific algorithms to the design of entire prototype systems.
  • The study and design of methods and techniques for evaluating information access systems for a variety of applications and search scenarios.

Specific research areas include: human computation, multilingual information retrieval, geo-spatial search, semantic search, multimedia retrieval, evaluation, query log analysis, task-based information interaction, user interface design and evaluation.


We are active contributors to our research community and been involved in organising events (e.g., the CLEF 2014 conference), developing evaluation resources (e.g., test collections and a user-centred evaluation framework) and authoring research articles and books (e.g., on multilingual information retrieval, evaluation of image retrieval systems and user-centred evaluation). Our research has been funded by organisations, such as Google, OCLC Inc., the UK National Archives and Peak Indicators, as well as funding bodies, including the European Union, AHRC, and EPSRC.