Write your research proposal with ChatGPT

ChatGPT (or any other text generation LLM) can be a supporting tool for content creation such as a proposal research, the formulation of problematic, generate ideas/theses or even identify scientific obstacles and trends in a particular field.

Proposition de Recherche et Intelligence Artificielle

Generate ideas with ChatGPT

ChatGPT can be a useful tool to inspire you when brainstorming research ideas. By generating queries related to your research topic, you may discover new avenues to explore or ideas to consider.

  1. Use natural language prompts: The tool is designed to work with natural language prompts. So try to formulate your requests in a short and effective way such as: “Can you explain to me what a Smart Grid is?”
  2. Use specific keywords: Using more specific keywords will help ChatGPT generate results more precise and relevant. In order to know these keywords, → see the course State of the art with ChatGPT
  3. Refine your queries if necessary: If the results generated are not relevant to your search topic, try refining your prompts or related keywords. Be patient and experiment with different queries until you find the best combination that generates the most relevant results. → see the course State of the art with ChatGPT
  4. Use multiple queries: try using different prompts related to your research topic to bring together a wide range of sources. You can also use different variations, such as phrasing the same question in different ways or using different keywords.
  5. Use ChatGPT in addition: The tool should be used in addition to your own research skills and critical thinking. Although it can be a useful tool for identifying relevant sources, it should not replace your own judgment or expertise in the field.
  6. Check the credibility of the sources: It is important to check the credibility of each source before using it in your research. Use tools like Google Scholar, Web of Science, or Scopus to determine if the source is peer-reviewed and trustworthy.
  7. Be aware of bias: The tool may generate sources that are biased toward a particular perspective or ideology. Keep this in mind and try to find sources that represent a variety of viewpoints and opinions.

It is important to keep in mind that the researcher remains the thinking head and that the tool remains only a valuable aid for rapid information collection.

  1. Use ChatGPT for exploratory research: The tool can be particularly useful for exploratory research, where you are trying to gather a broad understanding of a topic or area. By generating a wide range of prompts and sources, you can get a sense of the different perspectives and ideas in the field.  → see the course on Write a research proposal
  2. Keep track of your sources: When generating sources using ChatGPT, be sure to track them in a reference management tool such as Zotero or EndNote. This will help you keep track of your sources and avoid plagiarism.  → see the course on How to organize your state of the art
  3. Practice critical evaluation: It is important to evaluate each source critically before using it in your research. Look for potential biases, evaluate the methodology used and consider the credibility of the author or publisher. It is recommended to read the sources used by ChatGPT.  → see the course on How to read a scientific paper
  4. Consider the limitations of ChatGPT: it may not have access to the latest or most recent research, and it may not have the same level of expertise as a human researcher in a specific area. Therefore, use the tool as just one tool in your research process. → see the course on How to read a scientific paper

ChatGPT to generate issues

Once the ideas are precise and correspond to your research subject, you can use your knowledge and ChatGPT to understand the scientific obstacles, the openings and thus pose your problems.

  • Start wide: choose a general area that you want to explore further. Review the ChatGPT results and identify any questions or interesting ideas that you can use to narrow down your research topic. Be as specific as possible in the requests you give him. The more precise it is, the more targeted the output will be. For example, instead of typing "climate change" as the prompt, try typing "the impact of climate change on water supplies in Koi-San Africa."
  • Refine your research question: take the interesting questions generated and refine them into a focused research question. Use your domain knowledge and literature existing to ensure that the research question is relevant and feasible.
  • Experiment with different queries: Try different prompt lengths to see what generates the best results. Sometimes a longer prompt will result in more focused and specific output, while other times a shorter prompt will generate more creative and diverse output.
  • Use different settings: The tool has different settings that can be adjusted to generate different types of output. For example, you can adjust the “temperature” parameter to generate more creative or more conservative output. Experiment with different settings to see what works best for your research question.
  • Rate the quality of the questions: The tool may generate interesting and thought-provoking questions, not all results will be relevant or useful to your research. It is important to evaluate the quality of the results and determine which questions are most relevant and actionable for your research.
  • Use ChatGPT as a starting point: The tool can be a useful starting point but it should not be considered the only method to develop research questions. Use your own judgment, domain knowledge, and existing literature to further refine and develop the research question.
  • Continuously refine: Refining your research question is an ongoing process, and it is important to continually evaluate and refine your research question as you conduct your research. This can help you stay on track and ensure your research is progressing toward your research goals.

Improve your research proposal

In order to have the best of ChatGPT for to write your research proposal, it is important to follow the following advice:

  1. Refine your goal: some ideas may not be directly relevant to your research question. Take the time to refine your scope and identify the ideas most relevant to your research topic.
  2. Clarify your research question: consider refining your research question to obtain more specific results. A clear and specific research question will help you focus your search and generate more relevant ideas.
  3. Evaluate the relevance of each idea: Before pursuing a generated idea, evaluate its relevance to your research question. Ask yourself how the idea relates to your research topic and whether it contributes to your research objectives. This will allow you to sort the queries to follow.
  4. Consider the feasibility of each idea: some ideas generated may be interesting, but not feasible for your research project. Consider the time, resources, and expertise needed to pursue each idea before deciding which ones to pursue.
  5. Request feedback: share your ideas with colleagues or mentors and seek their feedback. They may be able to offer ideas or suggest ways to refine your ideas.
  6. Use additional search methods: ChatGPT is one tool among many in the research process. Always cross-reference information in order to enrich your knowledge in a field.

Refining ideas is an iterative process. Don't be afraid to go back and refine your research question, generate new ideas, and evaluate them again.

  1. Use domain-specific knowledge: The tool may not have domain-specific knowledge related to your research topic. It is important to use your own domain-specific knowledge to evaluate and refine the ideas generated.
  2. Group and prioritize ideas: Group similar ideas together and prioritize them based on relevance and feasibility. This can help you identify the most promising ideas to pursue in your research.  → see the course on Make a Concept Map / Mind Map
  3. Explore different perspectives: The tool can generate ideas from a specific perspective or bias. It's important to explore different perspectives and consider alternative points of view to ensure you don't miss any important insights or ideas. Ask ChatGPT for its sources in order to read them and manually enrich your state of the art in order to open up new queries.  → see the course on How to organize your state of the art
  4. Keep an open mind: Sometimes the most innovative and revolutionary ideas come from unexpected places. Keep an open mind and be willing to explore ideas that might not fit perfectly into your existing framework or assumptions. The tools can also be off the mark, so be alert to sort through the ideas.