Maximizing ChatGPT’s Potential while Maintaining the Integrity of Your Work

Photo by Olia Danilevich

The revolutionary ChatGPT was released to the public on November 30th, 2022. Catching the eyes of most students, it quickly became used as a tool to write essays, poems, and paragraphs – completely minimizing the originality and effort put in by students. It seems that ChatGPT completely threatened the idea of academic integrity. But, as with all cutting-edge technology, there are immense upsides to this AI platform, especially some uses that don’t include cheating. By using ChatGPT ethically, it can serve as a helpful tool in writing and editing while still upholding authenticity, creativity, and honesty.

The first ethical use of ChatGPT is using it to gather research. ChatGPT was trained on a database that pulled extensive information from the internet up to 2021. So, when you ask ChatGPT a question, its response pulls from, and essentially combines, multiple sources on a subject. This makes it an amazing platform to do research on. Instead of having to scour google and multiple different websites for a piece of information, you can simply ask ChatGPT, and it will give you the most relevant, important pieces of information. For example, you can ask ChatGPT for a bulleted list of existentialists and their beliefs. In response to this question, it listed six prominent existentialists and a few sentences on each of their viewpoints. This gives you a great starting point. Although some of their information may be a bit broad, this shows you what to look up and explore next. By pairing ChatGPT with your own research skills, you can save time and gather loads of information.

Finding Resources
As discussed, ChatGPT’s database includes extensive information from the internet. This also includes knowing what specific websites offer and which are the best. Going along with doing research, you can use ChatGPT to give you site and research recommendations. For example, I asked ChatGPT what the best website was to find information about zoology. Its response was, “The best website for finding information about zoology is probably the Animal Diversity Web (ADW) at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ). It provides in-depth, peer-reviewed information on the biology and natural history of animals, including taxonomy, morphology, behavior, and ecology. Other reliable sources for information on zoology include the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).” This gives you such an amazing starting point to research and shows you where your time will be used most efficiently.

ChatGPT can whip up amazing ideas in mere seconds, making it a valuable tool for brainstorming. Brainstorming is usually a long task, which includes thinking up ideas and finding multiple people to get help from. But ChatGPT has diverse internet sources in its database and can pool these all together to create unique suggestions. Even better, the questions you can ask this AI generator are limitless and do not have to be related to school. Use ChatGPT to give you ideas for your next trip! On the school note, ChatGPT can be used to think up interview questions, create headlines, etc. I asked ChatGPT to come up with good headlines for this article. It gave me these: “Maximizing the Benefits of ChatGPT while Upholding Academic Honesty,”; “Balancing Technology and Integrity in Academic Writing with ChatGPT,”; “Mixing School and ChatGPT: Finding the Right Balance between Assistance and Authenticity,”; “The Responsible Researcher’s Guide to Using ChatGPT”, and five more options. You can take these ideas and edit them to be your own. Curating a headline is never a one-person job, it usually consists of an entire journalism room bouncing ideas back and forth. By adding ChatGPT to this process, you are just respecting your time and working with more ideas–as long as you still rework it and make it your own.

Style & Grammar

ChatGPT is an advanced platform, so its writing structure and style are sophisticated. So, it can act like an English teacher with its writing advice! If you want to know how to write in a specific style, ChatGPT is filled with true and helpful advice. I asked ChatGPT how I should switch from a passive to an active voice, and it gave me seven simple yet amazing tips.

ChatGPT also has amazing grammar in its writing. Now, all of our work should be completely authentic, but it should also be edited, so it’s at its best. When we write an essay, we have a peer editor. We can use ChatGPT as a peer editor, as long as we use responsible wording. To have ChatGPT check your grammar and spelling, you can simply ask it to without rephrasing your text. If you don’t want it to do the editing of your text, you can also ask ChatGPT punctuation, like comma, rules so that you can learn and do it yourself. This creates the best version of your original work. This is similar to using Grammarly, which most do anyway.

With ChatGPT, you have instant access to a wealth of information that would take you a long time to explore alone. That said, ChatGPT must be used to improve and help our work, not to do everything for us. We should all utilize it as a helpful and guiding resource, while doing it responsibly. The way to know that we are using it responsibly is by reflecting on our work, and seeing if we recognize ourselves in it. Our work, regardless of what resources we use, should be a reflection of our ideas, thoughts, and efforts. If your work doesn’t ring out as your own, if it feels like a stranger produced it, then rethink how you are using ChatGPT. Again, you must use it to help create, not to create entirely.