What is ChatGPT and How Does it Work?
It uses a large language model trained on massive amounts of text data to generate human-like responses to natural language prompts.
ChatGPT works by taking the words and sentences you type to it and predicting the most likely response. The key advantage of ChatGPT over previous AI systems is its ability to maintain context in long conversations and respond sensibly to follow-up questions.
This makes ChatGPT ideal for generating long-form content like essays quickly and intelligently. With the right prompts and guidance, ChatGPT can research essay topics, outline arguments, write coherent paragraphs, and cite sources.
Give ChatGPT the Essay Assignment Details
The first step in using ChatGPT to write an essay is to provide it with key details about the assignment:
- The essay topic or question
- Any specific requirements from your instructor (length, number of sources, etc.)
- The deadline for the assignment
Providing this context helps ChatGPT generate content suited for the task at hand. Be as specific as possible – the more details the better.
For example, your prompt could be:
“Please write a 5-page argumentative essay on the topic ‘Should vaccines be mandatory?’ for my 12th grade English class. The essay should take a stance for or against mandatory vaccines, support the argument with evidence from at least 3 credible sources, and be written in MLA format.
The deadline is March 1, 2023 and the audience is my English teacher. The purpose is to demonstrate my ability to construct a strong argument and follow essay writing conventions.”
Ask ChatGPT to Research the Topic
Before writing, have ChatGPT research the essay topic to gather evidence, data, and sources. This will strengthen the essay content.
You can ask ChatGPT questions like:
- “Please provide 3-4 statistics from credible health organizations that support arguments for mandatory vaccines.”
- “What are some high-quality sources I can cite in a paper on mandatory vaccines?”
Make sure to ask ChatGPT to cite any sources it provides. This will make it easy to include proper in-text citations later.
Request an Essay Outline from ChatGPT
Once your chatbot has researched the topic, prompt it to generate an essay outline. This provides the structure to build upon.
Ask ChatGPT to create a detailed sentence outline covering:
- An introduction paragraph stating the topic, thesis, and points to be argued
- Body paragraph topics and main supporting points/evidence for each
- A conclusion summarizing the overall argument
Review the outline carefully and have ChatGPT modify any weaknesses in the logical flow or missing elements before moving to the next step.
Have ChatGPT Generate a Draft Essay
Now it’s time to put together a complete first draft by asking ChatGPT to write the essay based on the outline.
Make it clear in your prompt that the draft should:
- Follow the outline structure exactly
- Elaborate on each outline point with well-written paragraphs
- Include properly formatted in-text citations for any sources or statistics
- Have an introduction and conclusion that match the outline
- Adhere to the length, formatting, and deadline specifications
ChatGPT will then write a complete essay draft on the topic tailored to your assignment needs.
Edit and Refine the Draft Essay
While ChatGPT produces very good essay drafts, it is not perfect. Expect to spend time revising, refining, and editing the AI-generated draft.
Key things to review:
- Logical flow – Make sure the argument progresses clearly from point to point.
- Grammar/spelling – Correct any minor mistakes. ChatGPT is usually grammatically sound but double-check.
- Transitions – Improve connections between paragraphs and ideas.
- Citations – Ensure sources are cited properly in MLA/APA style.
- Plagiarism – No plagiarism should be present, but verify through a plagiarism checker.
- Tone/diction – Adjust the vocabulary and tone as needed for the target audience.
Spend time perfecting the draft to meet academic standards. Use ChatGPT itself to assist with revisions – it can rewrite weak sections, improve word choice, add missing citations, and more based on your feedback.
Generate a Strong Conclusion
Wrap up your essay by having ChatGPT write a conclusion that summarizes your main arguments and reinforces the thesis.Ask for 2-3 draft conclusion paragraphs and select the strongest one. The conclusion should restate your central claim and leave a lasting impact without introducing any new information.
Create an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
With the body paragraphs and conclusion in place, go back and request an engaging introductory paragraph from ChatGPT.
The introduction should immediately grab interest, transition smoothly into the topic, present a thought-provoking thesis statement, and outline the discussion points.
Again, generate a few variations and choose the most powerful opening for your essay.
Proofread and Finalize
With a complete draft in hand, thoroughly proofread the essay yourself for any lingering errors in grammar, spelling, citations, formatting, etc.
Make final improvements to the writing style and flow. Read the essay aloud for catch minor awkward phrasings.
Finally, run the completed essay through a plagiarism checker such as Quetext to verify it is 100% original before submitting.
ChatGPT is a game-changing AI tool that can greatly simplify and accelerate essay writing with the right user prompts and guidance. Following these eight steps, you can leverage ChatGPT to research topics, outline arguments, write drafts, cite sources, and refine introductions and conclusions.
With some final proofreading and edits by the user, ChatGPT can produce high-quality academic essays to meet any assignment requirements. Just be responsible and make sure to provide attribution to ChatGPT and any sources used in the essay. Used strategically, this innovative AI can significantly boost your essay writing productivity in 2023 and beyond.
FAQs about Using ChatGPT to Write Essays
What are the satisfaction of using ChatGPT to write essays?
Some key benefits are:
- It saves time by drafting essays faster than writing manually
- It provides well-researched content by synthesizing sources
- It creates coherent outlines and high-quality first drafts
- It improves vocabulary and suggests better phrasings
- It assists with citations, grammar, plagiarism checks, and revisions
Is using ChatGPT to write essays considered cheating?
Using ChatGPT alone to generate an essay you submit as your own work could be considered academically dishonest. However, it is acceptable to use ChatGPT for help brainstorming ideas, research, outlines, and drafts, as long as you provide attribution to any sources used and complete the editing and revisions yourself.
How can I make sure my ChatGPT-assisted essay does not get flagged for plagiarism?
Provide attribution by citing any sources or facts ChatGPT provides. Do not copy blocks of text verbatim from ChatGPT. Make substantial edits to drafts to put concepts in your own words. Use plagiarism checkers on the final draft and make revisions if issues are found.
What if my essay requirements are different from the steps outlined here?
Tailor your ChatGPT prompts to match your specific assignment length, formatting style, deadline, and other needs. The concepts are the same, but adjust details like word count and citation style. You can provide ChatGPT with examples of essays you need to emulate.
How can I get ChatGPT to provide better essay ideas and content?
Give ChatGPT very specific details on assignment requirements and expectations upfront. Ask for multiple drafts of outlines and paragraphs to choose from. Provide feedback and have it revise sections that need improvement. The more you refine its responses, the better content it will produce.