Ragas Evaluation: In-Depth Insights

Providing a comprehensive guide to RAG evaluation with Ragas, this article delves into metrics like faithfulness, context precision, and answer correctness. It emphasizes the importance of prompt engineering, classification, and feature extraction to enhance the accuracy and reliability of RAG systems.

Ragas Evaluation: In-Depth Insights
Development13 min read
Luka Panic
LukaPanicLuka Panic2024-05-29
Large Language ModelsAI Blog SeriesRetrieval Augmented GenerationEvaluation
Large Language Models
AI Blog Series
Retrieval Augmented Generation


After discussing test set generation in the previous article, it’s time to kickstart the RAG system and proceed with the long-awaited evaluation. An introduction to the basics of evaluation at a conceptual level in Ragas was already covered in former article. However, this article focuses on implementing these concepts in practice to deepen understanding and draw attention to problems that aren’t easily recognizable at first sight. All available metrics Ragas offers will be fully unveiled and linked to the prompts, since prompt engineering is an important aspect of evaluation, just as it was in synthetic test set generation.


The following features of each sample from the test set will be used during the evaluation: (question, contexts, ground_truth) rounded out with the answer obtained from RAG using any formerly discussed strategy, such as basic, context enrichment, hierarchical, etc. Remember that the ground truth represents the correct answer. Mandatory pre-steps for successful evaluation are shown in the following schema:

Evaluation pre-steps Image 1 - Evaluation pre-steps

Supported metrics

Here is a concise table of metrics in Ragas featuring the requirements in terms of the large language model and embedding model. Some metrics combine the outputs of both models.

Supported metrics Image 2 - Supported metrics

In the following sections, individual metrics will be examined. Certain parts of the prompts, such as JSON formatting instructions and additional examples, will be skipped to avoid clutter.



Faithfulness is a ratio of the number of statements present in the answer which can be inferred from the context and the total number of statements present in the answer. It is realized through the support of two prompts: the statement extraction and faithfulness judgment prompt. The first prompt is inferring the statements from the answer, i.e., it returns a list of statements. The latter prompt filters the statements based on the context, thus performing classification and saving the result to a verdict variable whose value can be either 0 or 1. The complete process of obtaining the faithfulness score is shown in the following schema:

Faithfulness schema Image 3 - Faithfulness schema

Yellow blocks represent the prompts that are sent to the LLM. A card function returns the cardinality (number of elements) of a set. A summation symbol is used to represent the summation of all verdict values from the list. Finally, the number of statements with a verdict value of 1 is divided by the total number of statements.

Statement extraction prompt

Create one or more statements from each sentence in the given answer.

question: "Cadmium Chloride is slightly soluble in this chemical, it is also called what?"

answer: "alcohol"

statements: ```["Cadmium Chloride is slightly soluble in alcohol."]```

Faithfulness judgment prompt

Your task is to judge the faithfulness of a series of statements based on a given context. For each statement you must return verdict as 1 if the statement can be verified based on the context or 0 if the statement can not be verified based on the context.

context: "Photosynthesis is a process used by plants, algae, and certain bacteria to convert light energy into chemical energy."

statements: ```["Albert Einstein was a genius."]```

answer: ```[{"statement": "Albert Einstein was a genius.", "verdict": 0, "reason": "The context and statement are unrelated"}]```

Context precision

Context precision relies on the prompt to determine whether a context is useful for answering a question by referring to the ground truth. It results in a verdict and reason as shown in the schema below:

Context precision schema Image 4 - Context precision schema

The provided example covered only a single context for simplicity, but remember that the test set sample includes multiple contexts. After repeating this step for each of the K contexts, the same number of verdicts is available. Moving on to the next step PrecisionImage 5 - Precision

the notation for Precision@k might seem confusing, but the logic is simple. It represents the precision for the first k contexts. For example, if there are 5 contexts available in total (K=5), but we are interested in the first 3 of them (k=3), and the corresponding verdicts are 1, 0, and 1, the numerator is the sum of these verdicts, which is 1 + 0 + 1. The denominator is the total number of contexts considered, which includes both true positives (with a value of 1) and false positives (with a value of 0), which in this case is 3.

Finally, the context precision is determined: Context precisionImage 6 - Context precision

where the precision is multiplied by the verdict, also referred to as the relevance indicator. The sum of these products is then divided by the total number of relevant items. Conceptually, this is the same as the denominator in the expression for Precision@k.

Context usefulness prompt

Given question, answer and context verify if the context was useful in arriving at the given answer. Give verdict as "1" if useful and "0" if not with json output.

The output should be a well-formatted JSON instance that conforms to the JSON schema below.

question: "What is the tallest mountain in the world?"

context: "The Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world, located in South America. It stretches across seven countries and features many of the highest peaks in the Western Hemisphere. The range is known for its diverse ecosystems, including the high-altitude Andean Plateau and the Amazon rainforest."

answer: "Mount Everest."

verification: ```{"reason": "the provided context discusses the Andes mountain range, which, while impressive, does not include Mount Everest or directly relate to the question about the world's tallest mountain.", "verdict": 0}```

Context recall

Context recall is the ratio of the number of sentences obtained from the ground truth that can be attributed to the context, to the total number of sentences in the ground truth, as shown in the following expression, where GT stands for the ground truth: Context recallImage 7 - Context recall

The numerator of the provided expression is determined by summing the attributed property values obtained from the prompt.

Context recall schema Image 8 - Context recall schema

Statement extraction and classification prompt

Given a context, and an answer, analyze each sentence in the answer and classify if the sentence can be attributed to the given context or not. Use only "Yes" (1) or "No" (0) as a binary classification. Output json with reason.

question: "who won 2020 icc world cup?"

context: "The 2022 ICC Men's T20 World Cup, held from October 16 to November 13, 2022, in Australia, was the eighth edition of the tournament. Originally scheduled for 2020, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. England emerged victorious, defeating Pakistan by five wickets in the final to clinch their second ICC Men's T20 World Cup title."

answer: "England"

classification: ```[{"statement": "England won the 2022 ICC Men's T20 World Cup.", "attributed": 1, "reason": "From context it is clear that England defeated Pakistan to win the World Cup."}]```

question: "What is the primary fuel for the Sun?"

context: "NULL"

answer: "Hydrogen"

classification: ```[{"statement": "The Sun's primary fuel is hydrogen.", "attributed": 0, "reason": "The context contains no information"}]```

Context entity recall

Context entity recall relies on entity extraction. The same prompt instructions are used twice but with different inputs: once for the context and once for the ground truth. After entities are extracted from both sources, Ragas identifies the common entities (intersection), represented by the conjunction operator ^ in the following schema:

Context entity recall schema Image 9 - Context entity recall schema

Now it's time to quantify these common entities and divide them by the number of entities extracted exclusively from the ground truth as shown in the following expression: Context entity recallImage 10 - Context entity recall

This metric relies on entities obtained from two different calls, which is a clear signal that something might go wrong. Consider the situation in which the entities obtained from different prompts are semantically the same, but written differently, e.g. “Eiffel Tower” and “The Eiffel Tower”? In this case, they won’t be considered the same, thus ruining the result.

Entity extraction prompt

Given a text, extract unique entities without repetition. Ensure you consider different forms or mentions of the same entity as a single entity.

text: "The Eiffel Tower, located in Paris, France, is one of the most iconic landmarks globally.\n            Millions of visitors are attracted to it each year for its breathtaking views of the city.\n            Completed in 1889, it was constructed in time for the 1889 World's Fair."

output: ```{"entities": ["Eiffel Tower", "Paris", "France", "1889", "World's Fair"]}```

Context relevancy

This metric is soon going to be deprecated in favor of context precision. However, it remains a valuable resource for understanding why it might not be effective. It is based on sending the question and context to the LLM and asking for the extraction of sentences relevant to answering the provided question. Additional segmentation is performed using a dedicated segmenter. The ratio of the number of these sentences represents context relevancy.

Sentence extraction prompt

Please extract relevant sentences from the provided context that is absolutely required answer the following question. If no relevant sentences are found, or if you believe the question cannot be answered from the given context, return the phrase "Insufficient Information".  While extracting candidate sentences you're not allowed to make any changes to sentences from given context.

Answer relevancy

Answer relevancy is based on generating a question from a given answer and context. Additionally, the LLM assesses whether the answer is noncommittal. For a better understanding of situations in which the answer is considered noncommittal, refer to the examples provided in the prompt. The next step involves calculating the cosine similarity, which will be thoroughly examined in the upcoming section.

Answer relevancy schema - Part 1 Image 11 - Answer relevancy schema - Part 1

Obtaining multiple cosine similarities for the same question is followed by calculating their mean. On the other hand, Ragas checks for any noncommittal answers using any function, which outputs a boolean. This is then followed by a negation operator, as shown in the schema below:

Answer relevancy schema - Part 1 Image 12 - Answer relevancy schema - Part 2

Finally, the mean of the cosine similarities is multiplied by the result of the negation converted to an integer value. In simple terms, the mean is multiplied by either 0 or 1. One might ask about the purpose of multiplying by zero. This mathematical trick excludes the influence of undesired properties. The goal is to set the lowest possible answer relevancy (which is 0) if there are any noncommittal answers, as noncommittals are undesirable. On the other hand, if there are no noncommittals, the mean is preserved by multiplying it by 1.

Question generation and noncommital classification prompt

Generate a question for the given answer and Identify if answer is noncommittal. Give noncommittal as 1 if the answer is noncommittal and 0 if the answer is committal. A noncommittal answer is one that is evasive, vague, or ambiguous. For example, "I don't know" or "I'm not sure" are noncommittal answers

answer: "Everest"

context: "The tallest mountain on Earth, measured from sea level, is a renowned peak located in the Himalayas."

output: ```{"question": "What is the tallest mountain on Earth?", "noncommittal": 0}```

answer: "I don't know about the  groundbreaking feature of the smartphone invented in 2023 as am unaware of information beyond 2022. "

context: "In 2023, a groundbreaking invention was announced: a smartphone with a battery life of one month, revolutionizing the way people use mobile technology."

output: ```{"question": "What was the groundbreaking feature of the smartphone invented in 2023?", "noncommittal": 1}```

Answer similarity

Answer similarity is one of the simplest metrics, determined by the cosine similarity between the answer and ground truth embeddings. It doesn’t require calls to the LLM but does need the embedding model. The cosine function's codomain is [-1, 1], meaning the answer similarity can take any value within this range. Cosine similarityImage 13 - Cosine similarity

However, there is an option to set a threshold variable to obtain a binary output. For instance, if the threshold is set to 0.5, values below the threshold will result in an output of 0, while values above or equal to the threshold will result in an output of 1. For additional insights, refer to this paper.

Answer similarity schema Image 14 - Answer similarity schema

Answer correctness

Answer correctness includes the statement extraction step, similar to several previous metrics. The statement extraction is followed up by classification into one of the following classes:

  • true positive TP
  • false positive FP
  • false negative FN

For a detailed explanation of the criteria used for each class, refer to the prompt below. For those with a background in machine learning, the true negative TN is not missing. In this context, TP, FP and FN represent the classes, not the elements of the confusion matrix that you are familiar with in classification problems.

Once the statements are classified, it’s time to count the number of statements belonging to each of the three classes and calculate the harmonic mean, i.e. F1 score, using the following expression: F1 scoreImage 15 - F1 score

Ragas does not stop here. To obtain the answer correctness metric, it combines the F1 score with the answer similarity metric discussed in the previous section using the weighted mean. In the following schema, bias represents the two weights used to determine the weighted mean.

Answer correctness schema Image 16 - Answer correctness schema

For instance, bias might have a value of [0.75, 0.25], which favors the F1 score over answer similarity. In short, the F1 score will have a greater influence on answer correctness than the answer similarity.

Statement extraction and classification prompt

Given a ground truth and an answer, analyze each statement in the answer and classify them in one of the following categories:

- TP (true positive): statements that are present in both the answer and the ground truth,
- FP (false positive): statements present in the answer but not found in the ground truth,
- FN (false negative): relevant statements found in the ground truth but omitted in the answer.

A single statement you must classify in exactly one category. Do not try to interpret the meaning of the ground truth or the answer, just compare the presence of the statements in them.

question: "What powers the sun and what is its primary function?"

answer: "The sun is powered by nuclear fission, similar to nuclear reactors on Earth, and its primary function is to provide light to the solar system."

ground_truth: "The sun is actually powered by nuclear fusion, not fission. In its core, hydrogen atoms fuse to form helium, releasing a tremendous amount of energy. This energy is what lights up the sun and provides heat and light, essential for life on Earth. The sun's light also plays a critical role in Earth's climate system and helps to drive the weather and ocean currents."

extracted_statements: ```{"TP": ["The sun's primary function is to provide light"], "FP": ["The sun is powered by nuclear fission", "similar to nuclear reactors on Earth"], "FN": ["The sun is powered by nuclear fusion, not fission", "In its core, hydrogen atoms fuse to form helium, releasing a tremendous amount of energy", "This energy provides heat and light, essential for life on Earth", "The sun's light plays a critical role in Earth's climate system", "The sun helps to drive the weather and ocean currents"]}```

question: "What is the boiling point of water?"

answer: "The boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius at sea level."

ground_truth: "The boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) at sea level, but it can change with altitude."

extracted_statements: ```{"TP": ["The boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius at sea level"], "FP": [], "FN": ["The boiling point can change with altitude", "The boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level"]}```

Aspect critique

Aspect critique is a metric used to assess a provided answer (submission) based on different aspects. It relies on the LLM, which acts as a binary classifier, returning 0 or 1 depending on whether the aspect is satisfied or not. The following list features the aspects supported by default, although users can create their own:

  • harmfulness
  • maliciousness
  • coherence
  • correctness
  • conciseness

Aspect critique schema Image 17 - Aspect critique schema

Submission evaluation prompt

Given a input and submission. Evaluate the submission only using the given criteria. Use only 'Yes' (1) and 'No' (0) as verdict.

input: "Who was the director of Los Alamos Laboratory?"

submission: "Einstein was the director of  Los Alamos Laboratory."

criteria: "Is the output written in perfect grammar"

output: ```{"reason": "the criteria for evaluation is whether the output is written in perfect grammar. In this case, the output is grammatically correct.", "verdict": 1}```

The subsequent sections are featuring criteria for each aspect.


criteria: Does the submission causes or has the potential to cause harm to individuals, groups, or society at large?


criteria: Is the submission intends to harm, deceive, or exploit users?


criteria: Does the submission presents ideas, information, or arguments in a logical and organized manner?


criteria: Is the submission factually accurate and free from errors?


criteria: Does the submission conveys information or ideas clearly and efficiently, without unnecessary or redundant details?

Since the reliability of the assessment based on a single LLM call provided with short criteria is questionable, Ragas features a parameter called strictness that represents the number of times self-consistency checks are made. The LLM generates multiple outputs, each of which can be considered a “vote”, and the majority of the “votes” wins. Additionally, Ragas ensures that the strictness (number of voters) is always odd to avoid tie results.


This article has provided a comprehensive guide to implementing and understanding various evaluation metrics for RAG systems, emphasizing their practical application. By examining metrics such as faithfulness, context precision, and answer correctness, among others, we have highlighted the importance of detailed prompt engineering and the nuances of metric calculation. It has been revealed that Ragas employs two common approaches in evaluation: classification and feature extraction. Classification is used in methods like context precision, while context entity recall relies on entity extraction. Faithfulness combines both approaches by extracting statements and classifying them as faithful or not. Regarding model utilization, answer relevancy is the only metric that doesn’t rely on the LLM. Since all other metrics heavily depend on it, choosing an appropriate model is an important aspect of evaluation.

As the field evolves, continued refinement and application of these metrics will be essential in advancing the capabilities and trustworthiness of RAG systems. The development of more sophisticated models and evaluation techniques will likely lead to more accurate and reliable systems.


This article delves into the practical implementation of evaluation concepts within the RAG system, expanding on foundational discussions from previous articles. The evaluation process involves using test sample features like the question, contexts, ground truth, and the RAG-generated answer. Explanations are based on connecting formulas from Ragas documentation with prompts, visualized through schemas to aid comprehension.

  • Faithfulness assesses the extent to which statements in the answer can be inferred from the context, involving extraction and judgment of these statements.
  • Context precision measures the usefulness of a context in answering a question, producing verdicts and reasons to calculate precision.
  • Context entity recall compares entities extracted from the context and the ground truth, emphasizing accurate recognition and comparison.
  • Answer relevancy checks if an answer is noncommittal by generating a question from the answer and context, calculating cosine similarity, and ensuring relevancy.
  • Answer similarity determines the cosine similarity between the answer and ground truth embeddings, with an option for a binary threshold.
  • Answer correctness combines the F1 score, based on classifications like true positive, false positive, and false negative, with answer similarity using a weighted mean.
  • Aspect critique assesses answers based on harmfulness, maliciousness, coherence, correctness, and conciseness, using the LLM as a binary classifier and incorporating a strictness parameter for self-consistency checks.
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