Guide: Using Julius to Perform Literature Review

Picture this: your advisor has just given you your research topic, and wants you to get your literature review done in two days. Panic sets in, palms sweaty, knees weak, spaghetti everywhere… absolute chaos. Well guess what, we can use Julius to expedite the process! How? By asking Julius to help us with our literature review.
Here, I’ll break down the steps on how to properly look and sift through academic literature using the search tool in Julius.

Here are the steps we will follow to search academic databases for our research topic:

1. Define your research question and objectives and relay them to Julius
State your research question, objectives or specific keywords you are interested in. This can help both you and Julius refine your search strategy.

2. Identify Relevant Databases
Specify which academic databases you would like to search. Some examples include, but are not limited to: Google Scholar, PubMed, IEEE Xplore, JSTOR, etc.) If you are also unsure, ask Julius to give you some other databases for you to use.

3. Search Strategy
Decide on the criteria of your search. Do you want strictly peer reviewed articles (highly recommended)? What is your publication date range? Specific journals? Specific authors?

4. Execute searches
Ask Julius to perform the search based on the criteria you have provided!

5. Review and refine
This process is lengthy, so you may need to review the search as you begin to find literature. This may include refining the search queries to get more relevant results.

6. Summarize documents!

Let’s begin!

Step 1: Defining your research question & objectives
Prompt 1: Please provide me with an output of the keywords and some of the search queries we can use.

Research Question: What are the benefits of daily physical exercise for mental health?


  1. Identify and analyze the specific mental health benefits associated with daily physical exercise.
  2. Compare the mental health outcomes of individuals who engage in daily physical exercise to those who do not.

After prompting Julius on the research question and the objectives, it gave me the following keywords and search queries:

This is a great start as you can perform the search yourself in a database using the keywords and search queries Julius has provided. This is useful if you have access to databases through your academic institution that Julius may otherwise not have. Here I will continue to demonstrate how Julius can help you access literature that is open sourced.

Step 2: Identify relative databases
Prompt: what are some relevant databases that we can search this research topic in?

Great, Julius has given me some databases that we can sift through while conducting a literature review. Let’s now define our search strategy.

Step 3: Defining you search strategy
If you are going to use Julius to search the web for articles, here are some things you should keep in mind when creating your search prompt:

1. Define the databases you want to search
For simplistic reasons, I am only going to ask Julius to search one database. You can have it do multiple searches in the various listed databases, but to keep it short I’ll just have it look at PubMed.

2. Define timeline for studies you want to use
You should also refine your search to include recent studies. I tend to like to look for studies that are under 7 years old (arbitrary number), as we want the latest updates in the science community. This is crucial as new studies come out daily, so we want to make sure that our study has not already been done.

3. Peer reviewed articles
Another tidbit is to make sure you say peer reviewed articles, as this means that their study has been reviewed by other researchers in their field.

4. Open Access Articles
To help avoid any potential problems Julius may have when searching for articles, you should mention that you’re looking for open access articles. If you have access to a database within your institution, Julius will not be able to search it as it requires login credentials. However, you can still use Julius to help you refine your queries and keyword search within the database.

Below would be an example of how to format your prompt for Julius:
“…Can you search PubMed for peer reviewed & open access literature between 2018 and 2024 on my [insert research question here]…”

Step 4: Performing the search
Prompt: Can you search PubMed for peer reviewed & open access literature between 2018 and 2024 on my research question please? Please address the objectives as well, and tell me which papers highlight which objective.

This is going to be a lengthy output so bear with me as I copy and paste!

PubMed Findings with Objectives

Step 5: Summarizing articles
Prompt: can you provide a small summary of the key findings in each of the articles please?

Julius has provided a brief overview of the study. However, let’s take a thorough look at article 3 by clicking on the link Julius has provided:

The link has provided me direct access to the article. We can view the full text by clicking on the Full text PMC to the right of the abstract. This will bring us to a new page where we can download the entire article.

Once you have downloaded the article we can bring it into Julius so that we can review it together.

The results section is the meat and potatoes of every paper, so I want Julius to really look at it and summarize the main findings. This will help me curate an effective literature review. Here are the results based off the prompt I created:

Julius has given me a nice rundown of the findings of the paper. It has also given me an option to download the full summary by clicking on the “here” link it has provided in the chat. I encourage you to read the articles yourself to fully understand the implications and results of the study. You can also go in and ask Julius to clarify certain portions of the study if you do not fully understand them or provide more information on it. You can also ask Julius to cite the sources you have used in whatever format you deem appropriate.

For example, I can ask how this article relates to my research question and the objectives:

Prompt: how does this article relate to my research question and objectives?

You can then hit the first prompt afterwards to provide specific statistical findings from the article to demonstrate the association between exercise and mental health!

Remember, this is to be used as a guideline, and thus you should use your own words to convey the information you have found. Julius is here to help you perform these searches, and you should not copy text directly from the tool. It is essential that you understand the material you are reading and relay the findings and information in your own words.

I hope this has been a helpful guide on how to perform literature review searches with Julius! As such, I encourage you to play around with its capabilities to see what works best for you and your needs.

Happy sifting!

Keywords: AI, GPT-4o, Literature review, research topic, academic databases, peer-reviewed articles, open access literature, database search, research question, research objectives, academic research tools, search refinement, academic research search.