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The productive researcher, now powered by ChatGPT?

Updated: Apr 12

How to use AI tools to increase the efficiency your communications and engagement work



In the dynamic world of research, ChatGPT, an advanced AI large language model (LLM), has emerged as a game-changer. The full implications of LLMs in the research landscape are only beginning to come into focus. This article highlights a few of the ways that ChatGPT can support various aspects of research impact, making it more efficient.


Communication strategies for research impact

  • For science communication, ChatGPT can help create narratives for videos, engaging social media content, and useful communication materials.

  • ChatGPT can automate the creation of easy-to-understand messages from complex content, helping to save time. Its ability to generate creative and coherent text can serve as the starting point to boost your storytelling and audience engagement.

  • ChatGPT is particularly effective at reshaping existing content for new purposes, making it a useful tool for synthesising your research. For example, you can use it to generate catchy social media content about your latest research or projects.

Of course, you will still need to apply your own judgement, use your own expertise and experience, and request adjustments from ChatGPT as needed. However, a LLM can save you a great deal of time by providing a useful starting point.


Supporting content repurpose funding applications for impact

  • If you need funding for your impact plans, ChatGPT can be a powerful tool to craft compelling narratives that align with funder requirements, increasing your chances of success. You can ask ChatGPT to provide useful tips based on the content you have prepared, to shift your phrasing to better match the funder’s preferences.

  • ChatGPT can streamline the writing process, particularly when you have existing content that can be repurposed for a specific call. This tool can help you ensure that proposal content is not only aligned to the funding call, but can also provide a jumping-off point for your proposal/project summary and other sections that require adjustment to match the call.

Helping with ideas for survey design to evaluate your impact

  • Surveys are a pivotal tool in impact evaluation, as they provide the necessary insights to assess and quantify the effectiveness of various programs and initiatives. ChatGPT can help get you started with survey design by generating effective questions and response options.

  • You can also use ChatGPT to help you simplify and clarify the abstract concepts that you are seeking to measure, as a critical step in the process of turning these into usable survey questions and response options.

We recommend that you use ChatGPT as a starting point, alongside your own experience and expertise. While it can save you time and support your research process, you should not solely rely on a LLM.


Supporting analysis of survey data

Survey data analysis does not always require advanced inferential statistics. Sometimes, you need to give a competent summary of what has been uncovered by your data.

  • ChatGPT can be used to analyse and write up descriptive statistics and qualitative responses from survey data. This includes selecting example quotations to use as underpinning evidence for patterns it has identified in the qualitative data.

  • The LLM's capability to handle large datasets is a significant advantage. However, when it comes to more advanced inferential statistical analyses, ChatGPT struggles to make sense of the dataset or communicate results in a competent manner. For now, inferential statistics remain a primarily manual expert task.

Maximising ChatGPT's potential

  • The more context and specific information you can provide to ChatGPT, the more tailored and useful its responses are. It's crucial to approach the tool with clear, specific queries to extract maximum benefit.

  • Generic questions will yield generic responses. Researchers should aim to use ChatGPT as a specialised tool, feeding it detailed and relevant information for the best outcomes.

Conclusion

ChatGPT, and LLMs more generally, stand out as great support tools for researchers, communicators, and data analysts, offering a starting point for content generation, editing and improvements. This article scratches the surface of the potential to enhance the efficiency of the research process. By leveraging this AI technology wisely and responsibly, we can save time and effectively approach content creation, editing and repurposing in a targeted way.


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This article is written by members of the Methods for Change team, part of a registered non-profit devoted to improving evidence-based practice. They offer training on a range of topics mentioned in this article:


🌟 Using ChatGPT for Communications | 15 May 2024, 3 to 6 pm (UK time)


💰 Using ChatGPT for Funding Applications | 29 May 2024, 9 am to 12 pm (UK time)


📊 Using ChatGPT for Data Analysis | 24 April 2024, 9 am to 12 pm (UK time)


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