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Using AI Tools in Your Research

A continually-updated guide on using AI tools like ChatGPT in your research

About ChatGPT and Generative AI tools

What is ChatGPT? How does it work?

ChatGPT 3.5 is a  "large language model," a tool that can generate human-like text based on context, training data, and past conversations. ChatGPT is built on large amount of training material found on the internet from pre-2021. While it can answer questions, generate images, and write fluently, ChatGPT 3.5: 

  • Is not an encyclopedia of knowledge or a database of information 

  • Is not connected to the internet (unlike some other generative AI tools)

  • Is not a discrete work by an author - your prompt can generate different information each time

  • Is not unbiased or neutral, as bias is integrated into the training materials

ChatGPT can, however: 

  • Assist with creative writing tasks, including brainstorming, composing an outline, grammar checks, generate research questions 

  • Provide generic writing or knowledge that may lack specific details or accuracy

  • Write code, analyze data

There are thousands of large language models, and while some are based on OpenAI, many use a smaller subset or entirely different training material. We will try to keep this page up to date with new tools that add additional features. 

Creating Effective Prompts

Generative AI at Northwestern