How ChatGPT Failed as a Research Tool

Osheen Jain
3 min readJan 7, 2023
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

While researching for my thesis proposal, I asked ChatGPT to suggest a couple of research papers in my interest area. Going on Google Scholar is always an option, but I wanted to see if ChatGPT could respond better.

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I was glad that ChatGPT responded with research papers and respective links.

However, the links for all research papers were wrong. I tried again, and yet, wrong links.

I asked ChatGPT to update the correct links and here is the response:

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Again, they were the same wrong links.

Here is ChatGPT’s response:

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Further conversation:

Me: So, how come you have the wrong links for these papers?

ChatGPT: I apologize for any confusion caused by the incorrect links that I provided earlier. I am a machine learning model, and I make mistakes just like humans do. In this case, I made an error when generating the links for the research papers. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

I hope this helps to clarify the situation. Let me know if you have any other questions or if there is anything else I can help with.

Me: Does that mean you have the wrong links for every research paper in your training data?

ChatGPT: No, that is not the case. My training data consists of a large dataset of text and information from various sources, and it is possible for errors or inaccuracies to be present in some of this data. However, I do my best to provide accurate and reliable information to the best of my ability.

I apologize if any incorrect or outdated information that I provided caused any confusion. Please let me know if you have any specific questions or if there is anything else I can help with.

Me: I checked and all the research papers you suggested don’t actually exist

ChatGPT: I apologize for the confusion. It is possible that the research papers I suggested may not be relevant to your search or may not exist. As a language model, I do my best to provide accurate and reliable information, but I may not always have the most current or comprehensive information available.

I apologize if any of the information that I provided was not helpful. Please let me know if you have any specific questions or if there is anything else I can help with.

Final Words

It turns out, the research papers recommended by ChatGPT don’t exist. There are no papers by these titles or these authors, for that matter.

According to ChatGPT, the responses are based on training data, and there can be errors or inaccuracies. However, the question is how did it come up with names for research papers, authors, and links/

Have you tried asking ChatGPT for research papers and got helpful suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.

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Osheen Jain

Content creator. Computational Neuroscientist in Making. I write mostly on productivity, AI, cognitive science, and Neural Nets.