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Research Guides

AI-Based Literature Review Tools

Prompting Is the New Programming

Table of Contents

- What is a prompt
- What is Prompt Engineering
- Notes about ChatGPT3.5 and Bing Chat
- Examples of Prompts for Academic Research
- How to Write Prompts for Image Generation

A prompt is a set of instructions used to ask a language model to perform a task. Tasks can take many forms including text generation, image creation, translation, summarizing, writing and so on. A prompt might consist of a few words, a single sentence or even extended paragraphs.

Prompt Engineering involves crafting instructional prompts for AI in order to produce the most useful outcomes. It usually comprises two primary elements: the system prompt, which establishes the static context through role specification, and the dynamic context, which provides additional context tailored to a specific task.

System Prompt: Static Context -- is the initial context given to a language model. It frames the overall topic and the goal of the task. It serves as the starting point. It usually explains the roles of both AI and the User in the task. With a given role the AI model knows whether it should act as a knowledgeable assistant or any other specific character.

User: I am a college student preparing for a debate on artificial intelligence's impacts on employment. Please provide a step-by-step guide to help me get started.  AI: Certainly. ...  
          Or try this one:
User: I am preparing a college debate on AI's impacts on job market. My argument is that AI will lead to job loss. Please provide an outline down to second-level headings.  AI: Certainly. ... 

Query: Specification  -- is the prompt that further guides the AI's response by providing specific queries or additional context, scope and boundaries or other details related to the initial system prompt. They can refine or redirect the focus of the conversation.

User: Please find some academic papers on the various ways that AI is affecting the job market. Compile a list of primary opposing viewpoints: AI leads to job reduction, and AI has the potential to generate new employment opportunities.

AI: Of course! . ......

Example: Illustration -- Providing example inputs can help the model understand the desired patterns or formats for its responses. Example inputs may include the use of examples, demonstrations of the expected behavior, a set of relevant keywords or descriptors, the abstract of an interested article, a reference text and so on.

User: I found this paper very helpful. Reference: AI Impact On The Labor Force at Https:// Please find a few more studies like this one.

AI: Sure. ......

Outcome: Output Indicator -- Provide any specific expectations or parameters for the response such as the depth of analysis, level of detail, number of words in the output or other requirements.

User: Assist me to finalize the gathered data. Divide them into four parts: Opening Statement, Supporting Arguments, Possible Counterarguments, and Conclusion restating our main points and emphasizing why our team's stance is more convincing.

AI: Absolutely!. ......

Testing, Fine Tuning and Effectiveness

The process of prompt creation often involves lots of testing and refining of prompts, and the effectiveness of prompt techniques may differ depending on the particular task, language model, plugins / extensions/ sources employed and the user's prompt engineering experience.


Facts about ChatGPT

  • Word limits of ChatGPT3.5. Maximum input and output length is 4096 tokens, roughly 800 words. See the Glossary page of this guide. Important, if you receive truncated responses or not meaningful replies, it might be due to token constraints.
  • When crafting a prompt, use plain English and be specific about what you want the tool to do.
  • Providing background information, context, or examples can be helpful.
  • Divide a complex concept into smaller prompts.
  • Ask ChatGPT to ACT AS AN EXPERT to explain a complex concept step by step.
  • See the zero-shot, one-shot and few-shot prompting techniques and examples at the bottom of this guide.
  • If you want to change to a totally unrelated topic, click on NEW CHAT. But if you do want to keep the previous conversations together in one chat, you could use a prompt like "Ignore the previous conversations. Let me ask you a new question...."
  • Use Bing Chat if current contents are required. ChatGPT 3.5 is not connected to the real-time contents in the Internet.
  • In July 2023, ChatGPT 3.5 rolled out a new capability: Custom Instruction. This allows users to change settings to tailor ChatGPT's replies according to their preference, be it formal or informal tone, desired response length, or maintaining neutrality as per their choice and so on.
  • See the Plugins / Extensions page for how to perform a combined search using Google, Google Scholar and ChatGPT. In this search, ChatGPT prompt crafting is not needed. Just do a keyword search in Google and let the Chrome extensions do the rest.


Typical Categories of Prompts Utilized in Generative AI Tools

ACTION PROMPTS  - To perform a specific task

  • Can you write / explain / summarize / provide / analyze  / compose / re-write  /translate ...
  • Give me a table summarizing some of the key differences between Web of Science and Scopus.
  • Rephrase this sentence: .....  / Expand the idea based on the following descriptors .....

WH PROMPTS - (what, when, where, who, which, whose, why, how...)

  • What are the leading causes /factors / impacts / definitions / benefits of /challenges, barriers, issues with /.....
  • What would be a good image to use for my talk about plagiarism?
  • How to search / cite / code / convert (the data into a table) ...

PROMPTS TO SET A SPECIFIC CONTEXT- Generating responses to specific situations or hypothetical scenarios.

  • Summarize the plot of ... in one short paragraph.
  • Create a list of five ChatGPT features that can be used to promote...
  • I will have a debate about the use of standardized testing in schools. Can you help me find some arguments in favor of this practice, as well as some counterarguments?
  • I am doing a literature review on the use of AI in education: "We aim to explore the existing body of research on the use of AI in education. From adaptive learning platforms to AI-powered tutoring systems. Our review seeks to examine the effectiveness of AI-driven educational interventions, identifying challenges, and uncovering the implications for educators and learners alike." 
    [Note: this context specifies the topic, the scope, the types of technologies and outlines the research areas.]


  • Create some images of college students in science labs . See one example.
  • Launch Microsoft Edge > Bing > Chat > then enter your prompts.
  • How to credit this image? See Bing's recommendations: "The images I generate are original creations and do not require citation. However, if you would like to give credit, you can simply mention that the image was generated by Bing."


Can you tell me about the current state of genetic engineering research? What are some recent breakthroughs, and what ethical considerations have been raised in relation to these advancements?

         - Specify a role for ChatGPT to take a question. This is also known as system message prompting.

  • EXAMPLE - I am going to conduct a systematic review on games and mathematics related to K-12 education. I want you to act as a systematic review expert. I will ask you some questions and you advise me on how to do each in detail.
    [Note: You may ask one question at a time.]
  • My first question is "which databases should I use?" 
    My second question is "what are the relevant subject terms, descriptors and key words?"
    My third question is "how to do data extraction?"

    Please note that the above prompts are merely for illustrative purposes. Actual questions may contain more specific instructions. As an example, for the first question, Could you provide guidance on how to identify relevant publications? Specifically, can you furnish a list of the primary databases and grey literature sources related to my topic?

    See other act-as-an-expert examples on Awesome ChatGPT Prompts at

STYLE PROMPTS - Experimenting with different writing styles or tones.

  • Generate a persuasive argument in an authoritative tone, convincing readers to ...
  • Write a social media post in a humorous style about...


Use quotation marks "...." or  ">" symbol to indicate a direct quote. You could also use colon mark (:) or hyphen mark (-) for a short quotation.


  • Fish oil and depression...
  • Other words like correlation, comparison, pros & cons, differentiate, differences, similarities, vs, the effects of A on B...


Rather than asking for the complete History of the American Civil War, you could consider creating separate paragraph prompts for different aspects such as the causes of the war, the timeline, the battles and casualties, the ending and resolution, and so on.


Find similar articles like this one - [then paste in the abstract ]
Note - Use Bing chat to find papers since real-time web contents are required.


  • Use Bing chat for this task.
  • Use a basic prompt like "Please summarize ...." or add a REFERENCE TEXT that provides the necessary information about what you want it to focus or how the summary or resolution should look like. The reference could be a quote, an excerpt, a partial sentence, a conversation, an abstract, a code snippet and so on.
  • Formula: Specify a role > assign a task > provide a reference text.
  • Three examples:

    You are an expert researcher, given the following article, please discuss its key findings. Reference: How Large Language Models are Transforming Machine-Paraphrased Plagiarism at

    You are a programmer troubleshooting code issues. Given the following code snippet, provide a solution for fixing its code errors. Reference: [Enter the codes].

    Please read this article and summarize it for me - "Who Should I Trust: AI or Myself? Leveraging Human and AI Correctness Likelihood to Promote Appropriate Trust in AI-Assisted Decision-Making" and then find 5 similar studies and please also summarize each for me.

  • See more examples under Bing Chat on the main page.


Certain tools may already include preloaded prompts. For instance, the Chrome ChatGPT Sidebar extension presents the following prompt options for users to select such as Summarize, Grammar, Explain, { } Explain Codes, Rewrite, and Translate. You could also add your own prompts on the template provided.


  • Zero-shot  or direct prompting refers to quick prompting or think about it as performing a task with just a task description but not providing any examples or scenarios to guide the outputs. Some of the common zero-shot tasks include translation, summarization, paraphrasing and so on.
    Generate a comprehensive overview of sustainable energy technologies, including their various types, benefits, and applications. Discuss their significance in addressing climate change and achieving energy sustainability goals. Explore key advancements, challenges, and potential future developments in the field.
  • One-shot prompting in literature review refers to providing a single example or scenarios to generate a literature review. The example guides the model in understanding the context and purpose of the task.
    Please compare and contrast the methodologies and purposes of systematic reviews and scoping reviews in the field of education, highlighting their respective strengths and limitations.
  • Few-shot prompting in literature review involves providing a few examples or scenarios to generate a literature review.
    Compare and contrast the methodologies and purposes of systematic reviews and scoping reviews in the field of education, highlighting their respective strengths and limitations. Provide examples of each type of review and include studies of each type published within the last five years.

    One-shot prompting doesn't need to rely solely on examples. It can take the form of queries, such as "Please generate a literature review that addresses the research question: 'What are the effects of social media on the mental health of adolescents?'" Alternatively, it can be scope-based, like "Please provide a literature review on the influence of climate change on biodiversity in tropical rain forests, with a focus on studies published from 2010 to 2020." Different from the other two types, Zero-shot prompting is not limited to any particular context, enabling researchers to explore a wide range of topics and research areas.



  • Designer powered by Dall.E3
    MS Edge browser > Go to Bing AI first, ask for its image creator, and then use Designer powered by Dall.E3 directly. It is free. Another option, go to > register and use it. It's free.
  • Be specific and descriptive.
    For inspiration, you can hover over the sample images displayed on the Copilot/Designer page to see the prompts associated with each image. For example, "silhouette of a cowboy riding into the sunset, c4d, dreamy and optimistic, vibrant sky" <Image Creator (>. This could be a quick way to learn.
  • The formula suggested by Bing Designer in its FAQ page is
    "adjective, locations, even artistic styles such as digital art or photo realistic."
  • Author's Recommendations - Also Consider the Following Elements:
    1, Objectives- an image that showcases.../ captures the essence of... / resembles a scene like....
    2. Subject Matter / Location / Composition - people, animal... / in a room, in a lush forest.. / horizontal layout,
        Two books are next to each other, the book on the left is ..
    Action - standing, walking, reading a book...
    Mood / Emotion / Color / Lighting - futuristic, chaotic, cozy, the scene is set at an enchanting mood, blurry
        background, /a subtle hint of brown hues, vintage tone, /rim light, hard light
    . For other terms or to see what
        a lighting effect might look like, Google "type of lighting in photography".
    5. Media / Style / Perspective - a photo, sticker, digital art, watercolor painting... / hyper realistic, 3D clay,
        in the style of Van Gogh... / in bird's eye view, panoramic
    6 Technical Details - with a resolution of 150 DPI, with dimensions of 3000x2000 pixels, ar16:9, style raw s850,
      or shot by a specific type of camera such as Sony, Canon with wide angle...

    See an image created for a presentation:


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