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How to use ChatGPT to find research papers

How OpenAI's chatbot can aid in academic research

Reviewed By: Steve Hook

Last Updated on April 9, 2024
Image shows the ChatGPT logo on a green background below the PC guide logo
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ChatGPT users on a paid subscription now have access to the internet, and scholarly documents therein, thanks to Open AI’s GPT-4. The latest ChatGPT LLM (Large Language Model) can find real-time information on the web, meaning that the OpenAI-trained language model can now help with academia by looking at sources and citing papers or journals for you. If you’re looking to locate relevant and credible sources for your assignments, this generative AI tool can help. In this article, we’ll outline the steps in getting ChatGPT to help you find research papers, and discuss what prompts will get the most out of this powerful tool when searching for academic work.

Quick Answer

With the GPT-4 upgrade ChatGPT users on a paid subscription can now access the internet, and with that comes the ability to find research papers. Using ChatGPT to find research papers is as simple as asking it the right prompts, these include a citation search, keyword search, topic search, and a summary search.

How to use ChatGPT to find research papers

Using ChatGPT to find research papers, is a simple process that only requires a few steps. But before we get started, it is important to note that using ChatGPT to complete this function is only available to users on a ChatGPT subscription. Using this feature requires internet access, a function not found in the GPT-3.5 model. So, if you’re looking to use OpenAI’s Chatbot to help you find academic papers, make sure you’re signed up to ChatGPT Plus, Team, or Enterprise.

Step-by-step guide



Log in to you account

Open ChatGPT in your web browser or mobile app and log in



Type in prompt

Select the text box at the bottom of the page and type in your prompt.

For example you might put “Can you find research papers on climate change?”.

ChatGPT will take a few seconds to process the prompt but will then respond with all relevant information, including links to sources.


Using the AI tool to find research papers is simple. All you have to do is ask ChatGPT a question related to the research papers you are looking for. ChatGPT will provide you with a list of research papers that meet your criteria. You can then use the information to narrow down your search and find the most relevant papers. You can use a number of different methods to find the information you’re looking for, these include citation search, summary search, keyword search, and a topic search. Let’s have a closer look at how to input these prompts.

Citation Search

If you have a specific paper that you want to discover related research on, ChatGPT can perform a citation search and provide you with a list of papers that have cited the original paper. Used in tandem with a tool like Google Scholar, this could be very handy. If you are interested in the work of a particular author, you can ask ChatGPT to find papers written by that author.

A ChatGPT chatbot recommending a research paper on academic oup that includes citations to Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" in response to an inquiry about finding papers citing Darwin's work
The image shows ChatGPT finding a research paper that cites ‘On the Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin.

Summary Search

ChatGPT offers the ability to search and summarise available resources and provide an abstract of information for a research question. ChatGPT has been known to provide erroneous attributions, so checking these where possible is advised.

A screen capture of a chat interaction where a user requests ChatGPT to find research papers on jazz music and receives a detailed response with a resource suggestion for jazz scholarship.
The image shows ChatGPT finding a research paper on Jazz music and summarizing its contents.

Keyword Search

ChatGPT can perform a keyword search and provide you with a list of research papers that contain those keywords. For example, if you are looking for research papers on “Greenpeace,” you can ask ChatGPT to find related papers. It will use its artificial intelligence to return a list of useful options.

A screenshot of a search results page showing academic articles related to Greenpeace, utilizing ChatGPT to find research papers on JSTOR.
The image shows ChatGPT’s findings and briefly summarizes research papers that use the keyword ‘Greenpeace’.

Topic Search

If you have a broad topic in mind but require help figuring out where to start, ChatGPT can provide you with a list of related papers.

A screenshot of a ChatGPT chat interface showing a detailed response about the impact of music on human development, society, and well-being, alongside suggestions to find research papers.
The image shows ChatGPT finding research papers related to the topic of Modern music.

AI tools for academic research

ChatGPT is a helpful tool when trying to find research papers for academia. By just typing in a keyword, ChatGPT is able to find scientific research, essays, literature reviews, and much more. However, when looking for help with academic research it’s important to find a tool that best suits your work and expertise. This is why finding an alternative dedicated AI tool might be the right option for you. There are plenty of tools out there that can help you with research and aid you in the writing process. This list below is made up of several AI tools for academic research.

Can ChatGPT paraphrase academic writing?

Yes, ChatGPT is able to paraphrase and summarize academic writing. This helpful function is great when needing to understand complex topics and detailed pieces of work. ChatGPT can write a brief summary of a research paper found online or it can go more in-depth if the text is input into the chatbot. That way ChatGPT can access the text directly and create a detailed summary.


ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for finding research papers. With its ability to understand and generate human-like language, it can quickly provide you with a list of relevant papers. Whether you are looking for papers on a specific topic from a particular author or that cite a particular paper, ChatGPT can help you find what you are looking for. So, next time you need to find research papers, try ChatGPT!

If you’d like to find out more about using ChatGPT in academia, check out our guide on how to use ChatGPT to write an essay.

Kevin is the Editor of PC Guide. He has a broad interest and enthusiasm for consumer electronics, PCs and all things consumer tech - and more than 15 years experience in tech journalism.