ChatGPT is a large language learning model that was introduced to the public in November 2022. This tool can be useful in research, but it must be used with caution and should not replace your own work or ideas. Some ways I encourage my own students to use ChatGPT in their research and writing include the following:
- Outlining a paper
- Refining a research question
- Learning more about basic terms/definitions (Wikipedia can also be a good resource for starting your research, though you should not use Wikipedia as a cited source)
- Proofreading written work for grammar and syntax
However, you have to be careful with this technology. It sometimes lies (also called “hallucination”). It can reveal cultural biases. And it frankly lacks the creativity and “human” touch that makes academic work truly excellent.
When my students use ChatGPT, I ask them to include a citation to this tool and also to provide a brief reflection about how they used ChatGPT and how they checked the information for accuracy.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), ChatGPT should be cited like this:
When prompted with “Is the left brain right brain divide real or a metaphor?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that although the two brain hemispheres are somewhat specialized, “the notation that people can be characterized as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’ is considered to be an oversimplification and a popular myth” (OpenAI, 2023).
OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat
Chat GPT includes the ability to share links to specific chats. It’s a best practice to include those links in your reference. For other tools like Google Doc’s Writing Assistant, links are not yet available, so it’s important to be transparent with your reader about how and when you are using AI in your writing.
It’s also important to remember that not all instructors allow students to use ChatGPT. You should check with your individual instructor for their policies. At CWI, the official academic integrity policy, including the use of ChatGPT and other AI assistance, is as follows:
“Practicing academic integrity includes, but is not limited to, non-participation in the following behaviors: cheating, plagiarism, falsifying information, unauthorized collaboration, facilitating academic dishonesty, collusion with another person or entity to cheat, submission of work created by artificial intelligence tools as one’s own work, and violation of program policies and procedures.” (CWI Syllabus Template, 2023).
To show you how ChatGPT can be useful in the research and writing process, I used ChatGPT 3.5 in creating some of the content in this part of your textbook. I have included an example screenshot from a chat below. Note: I did not use ChatGPT to recommend any sources or websites because it often provides fictional sources rather than real ones.
I have copied and pasted the prompt and response below.
Prompt: What is qualitative research, and how is it used?
Response: Qualitative research is a method of inquiry that focuses on exploring and understanding the subjective experiences and perspectives of individuals or groups. It involves collecting and analyzing data in the form of words, images, or other non-numerical forms, and seeks to uncover deeper insights into the meaning and context of human behavior and social phenomena.
Qualitative research methods include interviews, focus groups, observations, and document analysis. These methods allow researchers to gather rich and detailed information about people’s attitudes, beliefs, values, and experiences, and to gain an in-depth understanding of complex social processes and relationships.
Qualitative research is used in a wide range of fields, including social sciences, psychology, education, healthcare, business, and marketing. It can be used to explore a variety of research questions, such as:
- How do people experience and cope with chronic illness?
- What are the factors that influence students’ academic achievement?
- What are the barriers to effective communication in healthcare?
- How do consumers perceive and respond to advertising messages?
Qualitative research is particularly useful when the research question involves exploring the meanings and interpretations that people give to their experiences, or when the research context is complex and multifaceted. It can also be used to generate hypotheses and ideas for further research, and to inform the development of interventions or policies that are more responsive to people’s needs and perspectives (OpenAI, 2023).
OpenAI (2023). ChatGPT (Feb version) [Large Language Model]. https://shareg.pt/GkQN6za
Many career and employment experts believe that prompt engineering for large language models like ChatGPT is becoming a highly valued job skill. As start-up specialist Gunjan Karan notes, “These technologies can be likened to a parrot, capable of reciting the perfect poem for you, but only if you give the right instructions.”
Karan walks you through an exercise of locating a job in your field, then using prompt engineering to write a draft of a cover letter to apply for that job. Locate a current job posting for a position in your future career field and try this exercise for yourself. How does providing more specific information change the results that ChatGPT gives you?
Karan, G. (2023, February 16). Prompt engineering: The game-changing skill you need to master in 2023! Linked In. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/prompt-engineering-game-changing-skill-you-need-master-gunjan-karun/