“ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with the chatbot. The language model can answer questions and assist you with tasks, such as composing emails, essays, and code.” – Sabrina Ortiz, ZD Net

You might of heard of it (or at least I hope you have by now!). ChatGPT has been making waves in the academic world due to students using ChatGPT to write their essays for them. Tut Tut. Unfortunately this isn’t fool proof as ChatGPT pulls it’s information from the internet. This means, ChatGPT is pulling information from other peoples’ academic work, essays and books. Resulting in these students submitting highly plagiarised pieces of work. Universities have the ability to scan essays for plagiarism and the students who attempted this were caught by having over 90% of their essays flagged as plagiarised. Oopsy!

So should we steer clear of ChatGPT when doing our school work!? Not necessarily… it depends HOW you utilised it’s power…

ChatGPT is currently free to use, and only requires you to sign up. There is a ChatGPT Premium option that comes with a monthly cost, but for most users, the free one is suitable.

You can access ChatGPT on most devices connected to the internet. There is an app and you can access it from a web browser.

Here are a few ways you can use ChatGPT to help with your essay writing (I said HELP, not do it for you!)

  1. Speed up researching – Many of our clients are smart cookies! They are happily working through their GCSEs, A-levels and many other courses. Some individual’s may struggle with direct access to devices or are slowed down by the physical difficulties Cerebral Palsy brings. Instead of trawling through website after website trying to find information for your essays, get ChatGPT to do all the searching (in only several seconds too!). Type a question into ChatGPT and it will provide a detailed answer. If you need further information or clarification, ChatGPT can hold a conversation well and will provide exactly that without having to repeat your initial question – hurray! For example: “Can you give me a list of all the Kings and Queens in the Tudor period?” This is my first question. I might go on to ask: “How did they all die?” or, “How old were they when they became King or Queen” or, “What years did each one rule?” Do you see how it appears to be a very natural conversation whereby my questions follow on from each other? Genius!
  2. Generate essay ideas – Your teacher will often give you an essay title. But what do they want you to ACTUALLY write about? Sometimes it can be tricky to find the right angle for your essay. Put the essay title into ChatGPT, include details of your own ideas and any prompts the teacher has given. For example: “Can you help me come up with topic ideas for this assignment “You will write a research paper on a civil engineering topic of your choice” I would like to include developing countries”. Within seconds, ChatGPT should have some good ideas!
  3. Find sources and citations – To save yourself bags of time looking through library websites and Google, let ChatGPT pull up all the articles, books, essays, and journals that might provide good information on your chosen topic. For example: “Can you help me find some sources for a paper about civil engineering in India” ChatGPT will bring up a list of sources. You can then search for these sources via your University or college library portal, or find the physical book in your school library. – It’s as simple as peas!

I would just like to reiterate, DO NOT use ChatGPT to write your essay for you! This will be classed as plagiarism and that is a very serious offence in the academic world.

One downside to ChatGPT is it cannot access information post-2021, which means it won’t access any useful information that may have been uploaded to the internet after 2021. It is still worth doing some of your own research.

ChatGPT isn’t always correct either. ChatGPT is simply pulling information from internet sources. The source might be incorrect but ChatGPT will not know this. Double check what ChatGPT provides you just to be sure!