We put forward a novel approach using a generative language model (GPT-4) to produce labels and rationales for large-scale text analysis. The approach is used to discover public value expressions in patents. Using text (5.4 million sentences) for 154,934 US AI patent documents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), we design a semi-automated, human-supervised framework for identifying and labeling public value expressions in these sentences. A GPT-4 prompt is developed which includes definitions, guidelines, examples, and rationales for text classification. We evaluate the labels and rationales produced by GPT-4 using BLEU scores and topic modeling, finding that they are accurate, diverse, and faithful. GPT-4 achieved an advanced recognition of public value expressions from our framework, which it also uses to discover unseen public value expressions. The GPT-produced labels are used to train BERT-based classifiers and predict sentences on the entire database, achieving high F1 scores for the 3-class (0.85) and 2-class classification (0.91) tasks. We discuss the implications of our approach for conducting large-scale text analyses with complex and abstract concepts. With careful framework design and interactive human oversight, we suggest that generative language models can offer significant assistance in producing labels and rationales.

Peer Review


This content is only available as a PDF.

Author notes

Co-first authors.

Handling Editor: Vincent Larivière

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For a full description of the license, please visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview

Supplementary data