Jessica Lam


Do Discourse Indicators Reflect the Main Arguments in Scientific Papers?
Yingqiang Gao | Nianlong Gu | Jessica Lam | Richard H.R. Hahnloser
Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on Argument Mining

In scientific papers, arguments are essential for explaining authors’ findings. As substrates of the reasoning process, arguments are often decorated with discourse indicators such as “which shows that” or “suggesting that”. However, it remains understudied whether discourse indicators by themselves can be used as an effective marker of the local argument components (LACs) in the body text that support the main claim in the abstract, i.e., the global argument. In this work, we investigate whether discourse indicators reflect the global premise and conclusion. We construct a set of regular expressions for over 100 word- and phrase-level discourse indicators and measure the alignment of LACs extracted by discourse indicators with the global arguments. We find a positive correlation between the alignment of local premises and local conclusions. However, compared to a simple textual intersection baseline, discourse indicators achieve lower ROUGE recall and have limited capability of extracting LACs relevant to the global argument; thus their role in scientific reasoning is less salient as expected.