Charting the Growth and Structure of Early ChatGPT-Education Research: A Bibliometric Study

Ronal Watrianthos, Selamat Triono Ahmad, Mukhlidi Muskhir
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 22  •  2023  •  pp. 235-253

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview and analysis of the emerging research landscape surrounding the integration of ChatGPT into education. The main problem appears to be that this is a new, rapidly developing research area for which there is no comprehensive synthesis of the current literature. The aim of the article is to fill this gap by conducting a timely bibliometric study to map publication trends, influential works, themes, and opportunities, thus representing the growth and structure of ChatGPT educational research.

This article addresses the issue of the lack of a comprehensive synthesis of the new research on ChatGPT in education by conducting a bibliometric analysis. Specifically, the authors use statistical and network analysis techniques to examine the patterns of publication, citation, and keywords and map the growth, contributions, themes, structure, and opportunities in this evolving field. The bibliometric approach provides a comprehensive, evidence-based overview of the current state of the literature to uncover trends and gaps and help researchers improve their understanding of appropriate and effective applications of ChatGPT in educational contexts.

The authors used bibliometric analysis as the primary method to summarize the new research on ChatGPT in education. We searched the database of the Web of Science Core Collection to find 51 relevant documents from 2023 that included ChatGPT in the title and were classified as ‘educational research.’ The sample consisted of these 51 documents, including articles, early access articles, editorials, reviews, and letters. Statistical techniques examined publication, citation, and keyword patterns. Network analysis visualized citation and co-occurrence networks to reveal intellectual structure. The multifaceted bibliometric approach allowed a comprehensive study of the sample from a productive, conceptual, and intellectual perspective.

This article conducts comprehensive bibliometric analysis of this emerging research area and synthesizes publication, citation, and keyword data to map the growth and structure of the literature. The results reveal important trends, such as the rapid growth of publications since the release of ChatGPT, initial authorship patterns, the focus on higher education applications, and distinct research clusters around pedagogical, ethical, and assessment issues. Visualizing citation networks identifies seminal studies while mapping co-occurrence clarifies conceptual relationships between topics. The comparative analysis highlights the differences between document types, topics, and time periods. Knowledge mapping highlights gaps in the literature, such as lack of focus on K-12 contexts, and highlights opportunities for further research.

Key findings from this bibliometric analysis of the emerging research land-scape surrounding ChatGPT integration in education include the following:
• Since ChatGPT was released in late 2022, the number of releases has increased significantly, indicating rapid growth in this emerging space.
• The most cited authors initially came primarily from Anthropic, but over time, the citations spread throughout the research community.
• The topics focused primarily on higher education applications, with a clear focus on pedagogical strategies, ethical risks, and implications for assessment.
• Citation networks visualized seminal studies, while the co-occurrence of keywords clarified conceptual connections.
• Gaps such as applications in the K-12 context were uncovered, and opportunities for further research were highlighted.
• The literature is rapidly evolving and requires ongoing monitoring of the development of this field.
In general, the analysis presents the productivity, contributors, themes, struc-ture, and opportunities in this emerging area around the integration of ChatGPT in education based on current scientific evidence. The key findings focus on the growing early interest, gaps and developments that can provide insight for researchers and educators.

Practitioners should carefully integrate ChatGPT into education based on new evidence, carefully assess contextual applicability, and proactively develop guidelines for ethical and equitable implementation. Ongoing advice, impact monitoring, and research partnerships are crucial to informing best practices. Educators must be vigilant for risks such as privacy, student well-being, and competence impairment while staying abreast of advances in knowledge to dynamically adapt integration strategies. The introduction should empower diverse learners through measured, integrative approaches based on continuous contextual analysis and ethical principles.

This article recommends that researchers conduct more studies in under-researched contexts, use multiple methods to capture nuanced impacts, increase focus on responsible integration strategies, develop tailored assessments, conduct interdisciplinary collaborations, monitor long-term adoption, mix with interactive explain and publish open access technologies, help guide adoption pathways through actionable studies, and synthesize the exponentially growing literature through updated systematic reviews.

The rapid publication growth and prevailing optimism suggest that the integration of ChatGPT into education will accelerate, increasing the need for rigorous research that guides ethical, responsible innovations that avoid risks and improve outcomes in all educational contexts. The findings have broader implications for guiding adoption trajectories through ongoing evidence synthesis and expanded investigations in under-researched areas to address knowledge gaps. Ultimately, continued monitoring and updated guidance are critical to ensure that ChatGPT’s educational penetration progresses carefully by maximizing benefits and minimizing harms in rapidly evolving AI-powered learning ecosystems.

Based on the basic mapping provided by this paper, recommended research directions include longitudinal impact studies, research tailored to under-researched contexts such as K-12, qualitative research to capture stakeholder perspectives, development and testing of AI-calibrated assessments as well as explorations that combine conversational and interactive learning technologies, updated systematic reviews, and co-designed implementation research that explain pedagogical strategies that ethically unlock learning potential while mitigating risks in diverse educational environments. Such multilayered tracking can provide critical insights to guide context-specific, responsible ChatGPT integration and monitor impact within rapidly evolving AI-powered education ecosystems.

artificial intelligence, bibliometric, ChatGPT, education
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