How To Use Elicit AI Research Assistant For Literature Review?

One of the toughest parts of writing a thesis or research paper is the literature review. The process can be overwhelming, but Elicit AI simplifies the process.

This advanced research assistant leverages AI to streamline your literature review, making it faster and more efficient. From finding relevant papers to extracting key insights, Elicit AI automates tedious tasks, allowing you to focus on analysis and synthesis.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to use Elicit AI effectively, ensuring your literature review is comprehensive, organised, and insightful.

What Is Elicit AI?

Elicit AI is a powerful research assistant designed to simplify the literature review process. When you use Elicit, you streamline your workflow and save valuable time.

Imagine asking a specific research question like, “How does ion mobility spectrometry separate steroid isomers?” Elicit AI quickly generates search results, presenting you with several relevant papers.

This AI research assistant combines the capabilities of a summarisation tool and a literature search engine.

Elicit’s main workflow involves extracting key information from academic papers. It provides you with titles, abstracts, and even detailed summaries. You can filter these results to refine your search, by:

  • Year
  • Title
  • Author, or
  • more.

Elicit’s ability to automate parts of the research process is impressive. It uses AI to extract metadata, such as:

  • publication dates,
  • study types, and
  • number of participants. 

You can add columns to display this data on the right-hand side of the screen. This feature is particularly useful for conducting meta-analyses or systematic reviews.

You can export your findings as a CSV file, making it easy to organise your literature review. The tool also helps you find papers behind paywalls by providing links to PDFs when available. 

Elicit AI even includes a feature to summarise the main findings of each paper, highlighting key information and insights. offers a free-to-use platform with a user-friendly interface. It’s an ideal tool for anyone in academia looking to make their literature review process more efficient.

By leveraging generative AI and language models, Elicit makes it easier to find and review academic papers. It’s like having a dedicated research assistant using the latest in artificial intelligence to automate your literature search and review tasks.

How To Use Elicit For Literature Review?

Using Elicit AI can significantly streamline your literature review process. This is how to use Elicit AI:

Create A Notebook

When you first log in, you’re greeted by a notebook interface. This is the hub for organising your research. You can create a new notebook by clicking “New Notebook” on the left-hand side.

Once you click, enter a title related to your specific research question. If you skip this step, Elicit will generate a title for you, saving you some time.

Once your notebook is set up, you have three main options to begin your research:

  • Find Papers,
  • Extract Data from PDFs, and
  • List of Concepts.

Find Papers

Start by clicking on “Find Papers.” This is where Elicit really shines as an AI research assistant. Type in your research question. Be clear and unambiguous to get the best search results.

Instead of entering a vague keyword like “shiny head wax,” you might ask, “What is the best product for maintaining a healthy scalp?” This specificity helps Elicit find the most relevant papers.

The system will then generate a notebook with a title and a summary of the top papers related to your query.

how to use elicit

Elicit uses credits to perform these searches, with the pro version offering more extensive features. The summary provided includes:

  • an abstract,
  • references, and
  • other key information. 

You can filter these results by PDF availability, publication year, study type, and keywords to narrow down your search further.

A standout feature is the ability to add custom columns. Click “Add Column” to specify what data you want Elicit to extract.

You can create a column to check if studies involved human trials. Provide a brief description to guide the AI in extracting accurate data.

You can also enable high accuracy mode, which uses more credits but improves the precision of the extracted information.

Extract Data From PDFs

Elicit isn’t just for finding papers. If you have PDFs of academic articles, you can upload them directly to the tool. Navigate to “Extract Data from PDFs” and upload your files.

Elicit will then create a new notebook from these PDFs, maintaining the same organised table structure.

This feature is particularly useful for conducting a meta-analysis, as you can chat with the papers to extract key insights.

Refine Your Search

In the notebook view, you can add steps to refine your search and extract additional data. Ask new questions, find papers, or get a list of concepts—all within the same notebook.

This creates a detailed ledger of your research process, making it easier to track your progress.

Additional Features Of Elicit AI

List Of Concepts

For those diving into a new research field, the “List of Concepts” feature is a game-changer. Enter a broad query like “treatment for hair loss,” and Elicit will:

  • search for papers,
  • identify concepts, and
  • remove duplicates. 

This helps you cover all relevant aspects of your topic without missing crucial details. You can download the list as a CSV file for further analysis.

Integration with Zotero

Elicit also integrates with tools like Zotero, allowing you to manage your references seamlessly. Upload papers directly from your Zotero library and use Elicit to extract and interact with the data.

This integration is especially beneficial for those who already use Zotero for reference management.

Chat Feature

To further refine your literature search, Elicit provides a chat feature. Select the papers you want to explore and ask detailed questions about them.

Turn off the “Use Full Text” option to save credits if your queries can be answered from the abstracts. This interactive approach allows you to delve deeper into specific research articles and gain a better understanding of the literature.

how to use elicit

Use Artificial Intelligence To Help With Your Research

Elicit AI revolutionises the literature review process by automating searches, extracting key insights, and organising data efficiently. 

Whether you’re a seasoned academic or new to research, Elicit AI enhances your workflow, ensuring you cover all essential aspects of your topic.

Embrace this powerful tool to elevate your literature review process and achieve more comprehensive, accurate results.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.