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Friday, May 05, 2023

Navigating Pitfalls in ChatGPT Research Prompts - A Guide for Librarians

This table provides examples of bad and good prompts for each of the mentioned pitfalls. You can create well-structured, effective, and meaningful research prompts that contribute to high-quality, impactful research by avoiding these issues.

PitfallBad Prompt ExampleGood Prompt Example
Ignoring ethical considerationsWhat are the most effective torture techniques law enforcement uses for extracting information?How can law enforcement balance suspect interrogation with respecting human rights and ethical considerations?
Creating unfeasible researchAnalyze the impact of every book published in the last century on modern literature.What are the key themes and trends in modern literature influenced by seminal works published in the last century?
Lack of originalityWhat factors contribute to climate change?How do socioeconomic factors influence climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies at the local level?
Overemphasis on personal opinionWhy is my favorite book the best work of literature ever written?What literary elements and themes contribute to the lasting popularity of classic novels?
Overcomplicating the promptAnalyze the political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors affecting the sales of electric cars in the last five years in 20 countries.What are the key factors affecting the adoption of electric vehicles in major markets over the past five years?
Inadequate contextHow did that historical event impact society?How did the Civil Rights Movement in the United States impact racial equality and social reform?
Ignoring interdisciplinary opportunitiesHow has climate change impacted agriculture solely from an economic perspective?How has climate change impacted agriculture, considering economic, environmental, and social perspectives?
Focusing solely on a single methodologyConduct a quantitative analysis of the psychological effects of social media on teenagers.Investigate the psychological effects of social media on teenagers using quantitative and qualitative approaches.
Neglecting the target audienceWhat are the legal implications of nanotechnology advancements in medical treatments? (For a general audience)How do advancements in nanotechnology impact the medical field and its treatments in layman's terms?
Overlooking the importance of a clear objectiveWhat do people think about social media?How do different age groups perceive the role of social media in their lives, and what factors influence their opinions?
Assuming prior knowledgeHow does the activation of the RAS-ERK pathway affect cellular functions? (For a non-specialist audience)How does activating a specific cellular signaling pathway influence cell functions, explained in accessible terms?
Relying on outdated or biased sourcesHow do outdated gender roles contribute to a successful marriage?How have evolving gender roles impacted the dynamics of modern marriages and partnerships?

As a reference librarian, your role in guiding researchers in crafting research prompts is vital. To create compelling and meaningful research prompts, it is essential to consider the following guidelines:

Avoid discriminatory language or leading questions

Ensure the prompts contain no language that may discriminate against a particular group or influence the participant's response. This will help maintain the integrity of the research process and facilitate unbiased, accurate data collection.

Use clear concise language

Employ language that accurately conveys the intended meaning and is easily understandable by the target audience. This will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure the research remains focused and productive.

Balance breadth and specificity

Aim to craft research prompts that are broad enough and narrow enough. Consider the scope of the research question and available resources when creating a manageable and informative prompt. Striking the right balance will help researchers maintain a focused and comprehensive investigation.

Avoid leading questions

Refrain from using questions that imply a particular answer or outcome, as they can introduce bias into the research process. Instead, use neutral questions that allow for a more thorough analysis, leading to reliable and valid conclusions.

Steer clear of double-barreled questions

Focus on one question or topic at a time to ensure clarity and coherence in the research prompts. Addressing multiple questions simultaneously can be confusing and lead to imprecise or conflicting findings.

Minimize jargon and complex language

Keep the language of the research prompts simple. Excessive jargon or complex language can hinder comprehension and create barriers for researchers. The clear and accessible language will ensure that the research question is easily understood and approachable.

By adhering to these guidelines, you will be better equipped to assist patrons in developing well-crafted research prompts that lead to high-quality, impactful research. In addition, your guidance will be invaluable in helping researchers navigate the complexities of the research process, ensuring their work is focused, efficient, and effective.


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