Geen categoriecustom instructions for ChatGPT enhance your PhD journey

Chances are, you’ve attempted to use AI for your research, such as ChatGPT. AI can be an incredibly useful tool for you as a PhD candidate. Whether it’s brainstorming ideas, writing articles, or getting feedback when you need it, AI can streamline and enhance your research process.

AI responses not good enough

Are your AI responses not always good enough? They might be too vague or incorrect, unrelated to the question you asked. Or perhaps it’s unclear where the answer comes from, which is crucial for you as a researcher who needs sources for the information you share. It can be particularly frustrating when you know there’s good information out there or when you’re under a deadline and need speed.

What doesn’t work

Some PhD candidates try to solve this by asking ChatGPT the same question multiple times, hoping for a better answer. Others try to formulate their questions as precisely as possible, hoping the AI will give the correct answer. Sometimes this helps a little, but usually not.


custom instructions for ChatGPT enhance your PhD journey

What does work: custom instructions

Fortunately, there is a more efficient way to ensure ChatGPT provides the answers you need: creating custom instructions. By giving specific instructions on how you want responses, you significantly improve the quality and relevance of the answers you receive. ChatGPT then adapts to you, rather than giving generic standard answers. You train ChatGPT by answering two questions:

1. What would you like ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?
2. How would you like ChatGPT to respond?

How to answer these questions?

Think carefully about what you need from AI. What types of answers are useful for your research? Is it important that sources are cited in the answers? What do you want AI to know about your background and education? Do you prefer detailed or concise answers?

Question 1: Key points to consider
What would you like ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?

– Specify who you are, where you work, and your background. You can include websites, links to articles you’ve written, your workplace, or your profile on ResearchGate or LinkedIn.
– Indicate your work focus, being as specific as possible.
– Share something about your background: where you live, your family situation.
– Mention role models or people whose work you admire and explain why you admire them.
– State your interests, passions, and curiosities.
– Highlight what you find important in your work or life, such as a particular project management style, lifestyle, diet, or sport.

Question 2: Key points to consider
How would you like ChatGPT to respond?

– Specify whether you want ChatGPT to ask follow-up questions.
– Indicate the language you prefer ChatGPT to use.
– Mention any models or frameworks that are important to you.
– State the areas you want to focus on.
– Indicate the style in which you want to be addressed: formal, informal, academic, etc.
– Specify whether you want to be approached as a beginner, expert, etc.
– Indicate if you want ChatGPT to cite sources, for instance, in the form of links.


AI, in casu ChatGPT, can help with your PhD, use custom instructions.

Integrate the instructions in ChatGPT

Go to ChatGPT, click on your name, and choose ‘custom instructions’. You’ll see the two questions appear, and you can enter your specific preferences.

Test and adjust

After setting up your custom instructions, test them by asking the AI questions. Evaluate the responses and adjust your instructions as necessary to further improve the answers.

AI can save time and improve quality

By training ChatGPT with your instructions, you ensure that it better meets your research needs. This saves you time and increases the quality of your work. I’d love to hear about the differences you experience.

Do you have any questions or want more tips on how to make the most of AI tools in your PhD journey? Feel free to contact me. The “AI for Researchers and Scientists” training could also be a good option for you.

And by the way… the images in this blog were also created with ChatGPT.


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