AI Prompting Technique – Unveiling the RAG Method of Prompting in AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to revolutionize numerous industries, making processes more efficient and innovative. A significant aspect of this transformation is prompt engineering, particularly the RAG (Retrieval-Augmented Generation) method of prompting. Prompting has become the cornerstone of human-AI interaction. But what if we could unlock the power of external knowledge to elevate our prompts? This approach combines retrieval of relevant information with the generation capabilities of AI models to produce more accurate and contextually relevant responses. Imagine a detective not just questioning a witness, but also consulting case files and background information to build a richer understanding. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the intricacies of the RAG method, explore its applications across various sectors, and challenge you to develop your own RAG prompt sequence.

What is RAG? (Retrieval-Augmented Generation)

At its core, RAG combines two critical components:

  1. Information Retrieval (IR): Imagine a vast collection of documents, articles, or web pages—this is our corpus. IR helps us retrieve relevant information from this corpus based on user queries.
  2. Language Models (LM): These are the heavyweights—the GPT-3s and BERTs of the world. LMs generate human-like text based on input prompts.

Now, let’s put them together:


Understanding the RAG Method

The RAG method leverages two key components:

  1. Retrieval: This involves fetching relevant documents or pieces of information from a predefined corpus or database. This step ensures that the AI model has access to pertinent and up-to-date information.
  2. Generation: Once the relevant information is retrieved, the AI model generates a response based on this data, ensuring the output is contextually enriched and accurate.

The combination of these two steps allows for more informed and context-aware AI responses, significantly improving the quality of the outputs.

How RAG Works

Here’s the magic behind RAG:

  1. Single Source Prompt: You initiate the process with a core prompt, like “Write a blog post about the benefits of solar energy.”
  2. Information Retrieval: The RAG model delves into a vast external knowledge base (e.g., Wikipedia) to identify relevant documents based on your prompt (e.g., articles on solar energy technology, cost savings, and environmental impact).
  3. Prompt Augmentation: The retrieved information is then artfully woven into your original prompt. This might involve summarizing key points, highlighting specific statistics, or providing contrasting viewpoints. Imagine your initial prompt now carrying the weight of researched knowledge.
  4. Text Generation: Armed with this enriched prompt, the AI language model generates a comprehensive and informative blog post about solar energy.

Sample Use Cases in Different Industries


Use Case: Medical Diagnosis Assistance

  • Retrieval: An AI system retrieves patient history, recent lab results, and relevant medical literature.
  • Generation: The AI generates a potential diagnosis or treatment plan, considering the latest medical guidelines and the patient’s unique medical history.
  • Example: A doctor inputs symptoms into the system, which then retrieves similar cases and medical research, suggesting possible diagnoses and treatment options.


Use Case: Financial Advisory

  • Retrieval: The system fetches current market trends, client portfolio details, and financial news.
  • Generation: It then generates personalized investment advice tailored to the client’s risk profile and market conditions.
  • Example: A financial advisor uses the system to provide clients with real-time, data-driven investment recommendations.

Customer Support

Use Case: Enhanced Customer Service

  • Retrieval: The AI retrieves previous customer interactions, product manuals, and troubleshooting guides.
  • Generation: It generates responses to customer queries, ensuring consistency and accuracy.
  • Example: A customer support agent inputs a customer’s question, and the system provides a detailed and helpful response by accessing past interactions and relevant documents.


Use Case: Personalized Learning

  • Retrieval: The system fetches educational materials, student performance data, and relevant academic research.
  • Generation: It then generates customized learning plans and study materials for students.
  • Example: A teacher uses the system to create personalized lesson plans that cater to individual student needs and learning paces.

RAG Prompting in Action Across Various Industries

RAG empowers a diverse range of fields:

Scientific Research

  • Main Prompt: Develop a research hypothesis on the impact of climate change on coral reefs.
  • Retrieved Information: Scientific articles on coral bleaching, ocean acidification, and historical data on coral reef health.
  • RAG Output: A more robust hypothesis considering multiple factors influencing coral reef health under climate change.


  • Main Prompt: Create a personalized learning plan for a student struggling with geometry.
  • Retrieved Information: Online resources on specific geometry concepts, interactive tutorials, and alternative learning methods.
  • RAG Output: A tailored plan that identifies the student’s specific weaknesses and suggests targeted learning materials.

Customer Service

  • Main Prompt: Craft a helpful response to a customer complaint about a slow internet connection.
  • Retrieved Information: Technical knowledge base articles on troubleshooting internet connectivity issues.
  • RAG Output: A well-informed response that outlines troubleshooting steps and escalates the issue if necessary, demonstrating a deeper understanding of the customer’s problem.

The Future of RAG Prompting

As AI technology evolves, the RAG method is expected to become even more sophisticated. Future advancements might include:

  • Enhanced Retrieval Mechanisms: Utilizing more advanced search algorithms and larger, more diverse databases to improve the accuracy and relevance of retrieved information. Integrating AI-powered information retrieval techniques will enable even more efficient and targeted selection of relevant knowledge sources.
  • Real-Time Data Integration: Integrating real-time data sources to ensure responses are based on the most current information available.
  • Context-Aware Generation: Improving the contextual understanding of AI models to generate more nuanced and contextually appropriate responses.
  • Multimodal Data Integration: The ability to incorporate images, videos, and audio data alongside text will further enhance the information retrieval and augmentation process.

Challenge: Create Your Own RAG Prompt Sequence

Now, it’s your turn to experiment with the RAG method. Here’s a challenge for you:

Objective: Develop a RAG prompt sequence using multiple data sources.


  1. Choose a Use Case: Select an industry or application of your choice (e.g., legal advice, technical support, e-commerce recommendations).
  2. Identify Data Sources: Determine relevant data sources for retrieval (e.g., databases, document repositories, real-time data feeds).
  3. Design the Retrieval Process: Outline how your system will retrieve the necessary information from these sources.
  4. Generate the Response: Describe how the AI model will use the retrieved information to generate a comprehensive response.

Taking it a step further – Use multiple domains and create Your Own RAG Prompt Sequence:

  1. Choose Domains: Select two or more domains (e.g., medicine, law, technology).
  2. Collect Data: Gather relevant documents or articles for each domain.
  3. Design Prompts: Create prompts that combine user queries with retrieved information.
  4. Test and Evaluate: Use your RAG system to answer questions across domains.

Example Use Case: Legal Advice

  • Data Sources: Legal databases, previous case files, legislation documents.
  • Retrieval Process: Fetch relevant case law, client history, and applicable statutes.
  • Generated Response: Provide a detailed legal opinion or advice based on the retrieved data.

By engaging in these exercises, you’ll gain hands-on experience with the RAG method, better understanding its potential and capabilities. Feel free to leave your comments and examples in the comments section! Remember, understanding RAG from scratch empowers you to wield it effectively. So build, learn, and then scale with libraries. Happy RAGging! 


The RAG method of prompting is a powerful tool in the AI arsenal, offering enhanced accuracy and contextual relevance across various applications. As technology progresses, the potential for RAG prompting will only expand, driving innovation in numerous fields. I encourage you to explore and experiment with this method, harnessing its power to create smarter and more efficient AI solutions.


  1. A beginner’s guide to building a Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) application from scratch
  2. Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) for LLMs | Prompt Engineering Guide
  3. Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) | Prompt Engineering Guide

About Lance Lingerfelt

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Lance Lingerfelt is an M365 Specialist and Evangelist with over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field. Having worked in enterprise environments to small businesses, he is able to adapt and provide the best IT Training and Consultation possible. With a focus on AI, the M365 Stack, and Healthcare, he continues to give back to the community with training, public speaking events, and this blog.

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