Create Custom Columns in Elicit

If there’s no predefined column that exactly matches what you want or you need to give additional instructions to correct errors or get the data in the right format, create a custom column.

  1. Create your column:

    1. If you’re starting from scratch, type the name of the column under “Describe what kind of data you want to extract” and click the button to create the column:

    2. If you started with a predefined column: click the arrow to the right of the column and choose “Edit"

  1. Tweak the Description and Instructions to fit your use-case

    1. The Description is a single phrase describing what information you want about the paper e.g. “Main or primary outcome measured in the study”

    2. The Instructions tells Elicit how to get the information you want.

      1. The instructions should contain all instructions that you’d give to a human data labeler 

      2. The instructions can accept multiple paragraphs of input, don’t worry about your instructions being too long

      3. Be as detailed as possible, e.g. “List all interventions that at least some participants received” may be better than “List the interventions that participants received”

      4. Explain the desired format of the answer, for instance:

        1. Level of precision: “Be as precise as possible (i.e. ‘50 hours’ is better than ‘2 days’.)”

        2. Multiple choice answers: “The answer should be one of: Both Genders, Male, or Female.”

        3. Numerical formats: “Give your answer in the format ‘mean ± standard deviation’, e.g. ‘24.5 ± 3.0’.”

        4. Units: “Include the units, e.g. ‘3.8 ml/kg’.”

      5. Explicitly mention any “gotchas”, e.g. “Make sure to give the number of participants at the end of the study, not at some earlier point”

      6. Give examples of good answers

      7. Try editing the various predefined columns to see what they’re like and get ideas for your Description and Instructions!

  2. Try out your custom column. If you still notice issues, go back to step 2 and tweak the Description and Instructions further.

    1. We recommend that you do this iteration process with 10 or fewer papers at a time to save on credits.

For column tips, see Improving Results from Columns.