The Untold of ChatGPT in Academic Writing: Is It a Threat or an Opportunity?


Today, if you browse social media platforms such as Instagram, X, or Facebook, you’ll find many short clips, reels, memes, and photos taken in different places. Why do you think everyone posts on these sites? It’s because of the release of many smartphones that can shoot high-quality videos and photos and even edit. Did this mean the end of cameras? Of course not! 

You’ll notice that a company like Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. manufactures cameras and smartphones. Consider the following case before placing this hypothetical scenario into an academic writing context.

When you run this sentence on Grammarly, “Answer this question based on the case study provided,” you will get a suggestion of “based on” being wordiness. If you accept the changes, you’ll have violated grammar rules as “based on” and “based on” modify a noun or pronoun and verb, respectively. You can now agree that Grammarly might not always be correct.

Whereas you can not disregard the role of ChatGPT in academic writing, it can never replace human intervention in crafting essays for referencing and study purposes only. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S23 might take a perfect picture or video, but you won’t buy more than one for shooting. However, you can purchase even five cameras for shooting. Similarly, you can’t solely depend on Grammarly to make your essay flawless.

Therefore, despite its limitations, this article aims to show how high school and university students can use AI tools, specifically ChatGPT, for research.

How to Use ChatGPT in Academic Writing

1. Brainstorming 

Have you ever written a 10-page research paper on any topic? How was the instruction? Would you prefer to write a 10-page essay on a single issue or ten questions? In most cases, you will likely opt for the latter as it allows you to explore different concepts in your paper.

Despite your preference for a particular type of task, you cannot determine what your professor will set on your assignment or exam. For example, assuming your instructor requires you to write a 5-page college essay on “The Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Healthcare Sector.” In this case, what will you include in your paper?

Before developing an outline for your essay, you must brainstorm on the topic. 

For instance, when you open ChatGPT-3.5 and enter this, “Help me brainstorm on the topic, “The Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Healthcare Sector,” this AI tool will produce a list of subtopics to consider in your essay (see figure 1). 

Figure 1. A screenshot showing some of the subtopics to consider under “The Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Healthcare Sector.”

Although the screenshot includes only three points, the ChaGPT generated seven topics: “increased healthcare expenditures,” “revenue impact on hospitals and healthcare facilities,” “investment in Telemedicine,” “Supply Chain Disruptions,” “Research and Development Funding,” “Health Insurance and Payer Dynamics,” and “Workforce Challenges.”

It’s worthwhile noting that you should consider rephrasing these subtopics in your essays to avoid plagiarism and AI issues. Undoubtedly, you can’t disregard how ChatGPT in writing has revolutionized college education. 

Creating an outline

Besides essays, do you know the recommended outline for a research paper? There needs to be more than an in-depth understanding of the techniques of crafting a perfect introduction, perfect body paragraphs, and conclusion to produce a written scholarly work worth consideration for publishing. What will be your first-level heading for a research paper on “The Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Healthcare Sector?”

As such, you ask ChatGPT-3.5, “What is the structure of a research paper?” Depending on the instructions, the AI reveals that it should contain the Title, Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation, References, and Appendices.

However, a question arises among students who get this outline from ChatGPT: Which section should be included or omitted in a research paper, especially when the professor didn’t specify? For “The Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Healthcare Sector,” can you include the methodology and appendix sections?

If you are in doubt, ask an academic essay writer at CustomWritings about the best approach to handle a paper on any topic and discipline. In the case of “The Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Healthcare Sector,” the expert can consider it a scientific paper based on secondary data, whereby there would be the exploration of information from various journals. 

Limitations of ChatGPT Essay Writing

Scientists pride themselves on the knowledge contribution and expansion in publishing evidence-based findings that can solve contemporary problems. For instance, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, molecular biologists, bioinformaticists, biochemists, and virologists collaborated in writing guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus. At that time, these scientists instigated the virulence of the virus and shared data on the web.

When these scientific explorations were happening in 2020, the ChatGPT essay writing tool was unavailable. What does this mean? Students relied on websites specialized in writing papers and essays. However, the advent of free AI tools such as the ChatGPT -3.5 posed a threat to assignment help services.

In particular, some students didn’t see the need for hiring an online writer. However, as time passed, coupled with the resurgence of AI detection tools such as Turnitin and Copyleaks, it has become impossible for students to rely solely on ChatGPT as an academic partner or tutor. 

As such, students should consider ChatGPT as a platform for research. In other words, when you google “advantages and disadvantages of legalizing marijuana,” you’ll get many blogs and scholarly articles with the necessary points and explanations. When you enter the same query in ChatGPT, the response will be almost the same as searching on the Internet.

Similarly, when you look for the latest information on ChatGPT, you will most likely get a regretful response that the data is unavailable because the tool needs new updates.

Generally speaking, it makes sense to consider ChatGPT an extension of searching for information on the Internet. Due to this reason, it will be best to consider this AI tool as a new opportunity for making academic writing simple. Moreover, since ChatGPT can’t guarantee the originality of the information, using it without proper paraphrasing and citation might lead to plagiarism. So, the question is, is this AI tool a threat to academic writing? Up to this point, you have realized that ChatGPT is only an assistant to crafting perfect research papers and essays.

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