On the Use of Generative AI for Literature Reviews: An Exploration of Tools and Techniques





Research methods, Generative AI, AI supported research, AI tools, Literature review


 To carry out a literature review often involves hard and tedious work.  There is a tradition of using facilitating tools, that extended to the AI field in 2018 when iris.ai appeared. Today, in the emerging field of Generative AI tools based on Large Language Models, there has been rapid development of new literature search tools and approaches. This study has the aim of exploring this vast array of Generative AI tools, in a literature study where some of the found tools were used to facilitate the selection of relevant publication. Three research questions guided this study: RQ1) "What Generative AI tools can be found in literature?", RQ2) "Which of these tools could be of use in the literature review conducted in this study, and how?", and RQ3) "What are the ethical aspects of using Generative AI tools in literature studies?” The approach has been a scoping review, built around a search that combined the keywords: "AI supported", "AI generated", "AI based" and "Literature review". An initial result set was filtered with inclusion exclusion criteria in a strive for an interesting quality answer to the research questions. However, most publications that passed the filtering lacked any potential to contribute to answer the research questions. The most interesting finding in the first search was a hint about the new feature 'Scopus AI'. A new search with the Scopus AI tool resulted in a small but very relevant set of publications. These publications were analysed in a deductive inductive thematic analysis, and primary sorted into the categories of: 'Generative AI Tools', 'Supportive AI Techniques', and 'Ethical Issues'. Findings indicate that there is a wide variety of tools that can facilitate the skimming process of a literature, and to provide adequate summaries of retrieved publication. However, authors recommendation is to keep the tools on the facilitating support level, and that the main analysis and conclusion should be human conducted. With this, rather traditional approach, researchers will have clearly less ethical issues to consider. Finally, the ethical aspects of Generative AI tools in research ought to be investigated more in detail, in a separate future study.