One of the hardest parts of writing and research is starting. Sometimes it is hard to figure out the right questions to ask because you don’t know what you don’t know. Enter ChatGPT. ChatGPT can help you brainstorm ideas and aggregate information. This AI chatbot can’t replace dedicated research and peer-reviewed sources, but it can help you get started.
ChatGPT and Brainstorming
Say you need to write an essay about how technology has changed through the ages, but you don’t know where to start. Well, you just ask ChatGPT to help you brainstorm some ideas. I asked ChatGPT, “help me brainstorm ideas for an essay about how technology has changed through the ages” and got five different ideas: prehistoric and ancient technologies, medieval and Renaissance technologies, Industrial Revolution and modern technologies, and Digital Age and information technologies. Along with these ideas, ChatGPT also provided some specific examples under each section.
I then asked ChatGPT to tell me more about medieval and Renaissance technologies. It’s answer this time went more in depth and gave me eight areas where technology advanced during this period: the printing press, navigational and maritime technologies, clockwork mechanisms, artillery and siege technologies, mining and metallurgy, architectural innovations, scientific instruments, and medical advancements. Picking one area that seemed interesting, I then asked, “How did metallurgical advancements in the medieval and renaissance era affect modern advancements?” Again, I was presented with a number of points (six this time), each with a brief summary.
With just three questions I was able to take a broad topic, “How technology has changed through the ages?”, to a specific topic, “How did metallurgical advancements in the medieval and renaissance era affect modern advancements.” These points act as a springboard to create an outline and do my own research about medieval and Renaissance era metallurgical techniques and anything else I would like to include.
ChatGPT and Aggregating Information
Sometimes there is so much information out there that it is hard to know what the most important information is. Or, maybe you simply want a quick overview of a subject. You can ask ChatGPT to help! I asked it, “What are some communication theories?” and it gave me eight different theories and a short summary of each. You could ask it for a summary of a book, a list of leaders of the American Revolution, or important formulas for financial accounting. ChatGPT is a great tool for quickly gathering information on the basics so that you can then go out and find research and sources to back up and support your claims.
ChatGPT Is Just a Tool
Ultimately, ChatGPT is just a tool for research, not a substitute for it. Open AI, the company that created ChatGPT, openly admits that the information it provides can be incorrect. It is important to back up any ideas you take from ChatGPT with verified sources. AI also can’t replace the human ability to make connections between ideas or add a personal connection. ChatGPT is a great tool to help you brainstorm ideas and get past writer’s block, but it will never replace your unique voice and ideas.