What are some good tools for conducting a literature review using Generative AI systems?

Harvard does not endorse any generative AI tools for literature reviews. The librarian for your specific discipline or research area may be able to advise on tools that can be used in that field; Harvard faculty, staff and students are invited to request a research appointment to discuss literature reviews

If you are using generative Ai for a literature review,  keep in mind that AIs:

  • do not search most or all of the databases to which Harvard Library subscribes. They can only search the models they’re trained on, and these usually don’t include licensed materials.
  • give results only as good as your prompts/dialogue with the AI. It still takes some experimentation and (finagling)
  • don’t always give citations- while you can cite an AI in many cases, in the case of a literature search it’s necessary to know what literature has been consulted, which AI chatbots often won't/cant' tell you.
  • Can make up answers, depending on the system and its settings

We’ve noticed that people are finding AIs to be useful thought partners for developing topics and assessing one’s own work. It’s always important to recognize that anything you paste into or upload to an AI chatbot may be stored by the company, so be judicial about putting your own work into one (and be cautious about pasting copyrighted material into one, like an article you want summarized). 

Check out our Artificial Intelligence in Research and Scholarship guide for more Generative AI information, suggestions, and guidance.

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