Chat GPT for scientific writing: Supercharge your writing with AI   

Imagine having a writing buddy that never complains, never gets tired, and never demands a coffee break! You’ve probably heard about it already (unless you live under a rock) – the revolutionary new AI chatbot from OpenAI, Chat GPT. Unlike the AI disasters depicted in apocalyptic movies, Chat GPT is not out to turn on you or conquer humanity (at least not yet!). Instead, it can be an incredibly useful tool, especially for scientific writing!

Whether you’re already familiar with Chat GPT or not, this article will provide you with ideas and tips on how to make the most of it. Get ready to supercharge your writing with Chat GPT, one of the best tools we’ve witnessed so far. Let’s dive right in!

ChatGPT logo

What is Chat GPT?

ChatGPT is a revolutionary new AI chatbot that can generate written content on demand in a matter of seconds! Simply provide relevant instructions, and Chat GPT will take care of the rest. Its popularity comes as no surprise, given its remarkable capabilities.

It learns by analyzing vast amounts of written material and using a complex structure called a transformer to recognize patterns and relationships in language. When you ask Chat GPT to help you write a scientific text, it will draw from its internal knowledge, gleaned from the training data, to generate a response. The training data for Chat GPT models comes from a diverse range of sources. It includes a mixture of licensed data, data created by human trainers, and publicly available data from a variety of domains such as books, websites, Wikipedia, and other textual sources.

The developers offer a free version (GPT-3.5 model) as well as the paid Plus version(GPT-4.0; 20$/mo). The paid version gives you some extra options(free version is just fine for regular users). If you want to know more about the technical aspects of Chat GPT, check out this video.

Engaging with ChatGPT is as natural as conversing with a regular human. Thanks to state-of-the-art natural language processing technology, it comprehends prompts and instructions, generating human-like responses. Additionally, ChatGPT remembers the conversation context of the chat, so you never need to repeat or re-explain yourself!

What can Chat GPT do?

The better question would be, what can’t it do? ChatGPT is a valuable tool, offering assistance in a wide range of tasks, from idea brainstorming to producing perfectly written texts. It has great value for researchers.

So, let’s start with the obvious, how to improve your writing with ChatGPT.

Improving your writing with ChatGPT

While ChatGPT is undoubtedly a powerful tool, it’s essential to recognize that it remains just that – a tool. Much like Grammarly or Essay programs, it can assist you in enhancing your writing, but it’s crucial not to let it take over entirely. The purpose is to use ChatGPT as a means to refine your skills and work, not to fabricate or cheat. Also, be aware that it may not always provide entirely original content, so avoid undermining your own creativity and expertise. Instead, leverage it to elevate your abilities!

Here are some of the areas you can utilize ChatGPT for:

Grammar and Punctuation – Inquire about proper grammar and punctuation to ensure your writing is error-free.

Sentence structure – Ask for suggestions on how to vary sentence structures to make your writing more engaging, dynamic, etc.

Synonyms and Vocabulary – Ask ChatGPT for synonyms or alternative words to enrich your writing and avoid repetitive language.

Paraphrasing – Ask GPT to paraphrase texts, paragraphs, and sentences. We all know this is something that scientists always need.

Transitional phrases – Ask for transitional phrases and words to improve the flow and coherence of your writing, making it easy for readers to follow your ideas.

Tone and style – Seek advice on adopting a specific writing tone or style to suit the purpose and audience of your piece.

(Pro Tip: You could also give GPT examples from a scientific writer you like and ask it to use the same style on your paper!)

Descriptive language – Get help with descriptive language and imagery to make your writing more vivid and immersive.

Introduction and conclusion assistance – Get help in crafting captivating introductions and compelling conclusions that leave a lasting impact on your readers. Ask GPT to give you an attention-grabbing opening line to set the tone of your article, or ask it to wrap up your article into a memorable ending!

Feedback and Editing – Use ChatGPT to review and edit your writing, asking for input on areas that may need improvement or clarification.

By using ChatGPT as a complementary aid rather than a substitute for your own skills, you can harness its potential to elevate your writing to new levels. Remember, it’s a tool to help you grow and improve as a writer!

Conquering your writer’s block and brainstorming with Chat GPT

ChatGPT is not just a tool for improving technical writing skills. It can also help you come up with ideas and brainstorm together with you. For example, you can ask ChatGPT to suggest catchy titles for your article or give you ideas on different topics and perspectives. Feel free to seek its assistance in generating new ideas, and if you like something, expand on it.

For instance, you can say, “I’m working on a scientific paper about the effects of placebo treatment on pain. Can you give me a list of attention-grabbing titles for my article?” If you find something you like, ask for more variations or new ideas in that direction. With ChatGPT by your side, conquering writer’s block and exploring creative possibilities becomes easy.

Pro Tip: As a general tip, get used to asking ChatGPT for suggestions and opinions, like you would a regular person. You will be surprised how helpful this may be!

Chat GPT helping people write

6 Pillars of using ChatGPT

Although all of the above-mentioned benefits are great, they do not provide guidelines or a framework for the best way to use chat GPT. Since this is artificial intelligence and not your everyday Siri, I am not going to give you copy-paste prompts and instructions, as they will inevitably go to waste. Instead, I want to give you some principles that you can use whether you are writing an empirical paper, a review article, or a doctoral dissertation. I thought, what better way to define the guidelines for using Chat GPT than to ask it directly? So, I did!

Below is ChatGPT’s answer in response to the question: “Tell me how you work best and describe what you need if I were to use you to improve my writing?”

1. Provide Clear Instructions: Be specific about what you need help with or the type of content you want to generate.

Be clear on what you want. Remember, the more context you give and the clearer the instructions, the more tailored and precise the response will be. For instance, I tend to include unnecessary words and over-complicate my writing, so I want to make my work clear and concise. And that is exactly what I ask for. For example: “I am writing a scientific article on the topic of “X”, and I want you to revise my writing. Please revise the following paragraph, and try to make it clear, concise, and to the point.”

Pro Tip: Chat GPT often adds information on his own, that was not previously a part of your paragraph, so make sure to add something like: “Use only the information I give you”. By providing clear instructions and context, ChatGPT will better suit your needs and wants.

2. Ask Clarifying Questions: If needed, ask follow-up questions to fine-tune your request and get more accurate results.

Remember that you can continue the conversation and seek clarifications just like you would in a regular chat. Unlike a search engine, ChatGPT retains previous information, making it easier to build on the conversation. If something is unclear, don’t hesitate to ask for further explanations. And if there’s something you don’t like, be direct and clear about your preferences.

Pro Tip: Often, if not given enough context, Chat GPT will turn your writing into some kind of sales pitch. If you are writing a scientific article, you can write something like this:

“Hey, this sounds too sales-oriented, but I’m not trying to sell anything. Can you please try again using only the information I provided? Remember, I’m working on a scientific article, and I want the focus to be on clarity, transparency, and precision.” By providing feedback and asking follow-up questions, you can guide ChatGPT toward generating content that aligns better with your specific needs.

3. Iterative Process: If the initial response doesn’t fully meet your expectations, iterate and refine your instructions to get better outputs.

If the initial response doesn’t fully meet your expectations, that’s okay! You can keep the conversation going and improve the outcome. Feel free to ask ChatGPT to regenerate the response without giving additional context, but keep in mind that providing more information can lead to better results. Engage in a dialogue with ChatGPT, and don’t be afraid to refine your instructions until you get the answers you need.

You could write: “I like the structure, but the language is too complex. Keep the simplicity of the original text but use the same structure.”

4. Collaborate with Me: Think of me as a writing assistant rather than a replacement for your creativity. Combine my suggestions with your own ideas for the best results.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Think of it as working with your friend, just that your friend, in this case, is much smarter, more obedient, and more productive than your real friends probably. By expanding, explaining, and elaborating on your ideas, you allow ChatGPT to provide even better assistance. Remember, the magic happens when you combine your creativity with ChatGPT’s capabilities.

For example: “What would be a good connection between the two paragraphs? What would you suggest?” Then it might give you multiple suggestions, perhaps only one of which you like. Take the one and expand on it even further.

5. Review and Edit: Always review the generated content to ensure it aligns with your writing style and meets your requirements.

After revising a section, go through the text again to check if it aligns with your writing style. Ensure that the paragraphs fit together seamlessly and that the central idea and thread of the text remain consistent. Regularly reviewing and editing the content will help you maintain control over the writing process and ensure that the final output reflects your unique voice.

Pro Tip: As you can see, I always go paragraph for paragraph. I suggest you do it too! By approaching the text in smaller portions with clear instructions, you can avoid confusion and maintain a coherent flow. With longer texts and complex topics, this will come in handy, trust me.

6. Check for Plagiarism: If using AI-generated content in an article, verify it for potential plagiarism and cite sources accordingly.

As mentioned before, the point is to enhance your writing and not engage in plagiarism. Personally, I have never gotten to a point where ChatGPT really wrote anything that differs from my writing to the degree that it could be plagiarism. However, it’s always best to exercise caution, especially when writing for academic purposes.

It is important to note that ChatGPT does not have the function to detect plagiarism, so I would recommend referring to other software dedicated specifically to this function.  If you feel uncertain about any part of the text, particularly in academic circles, take the extra step to double-check and ensure that all sources are cited properly.

Chat GPT Limitations

It is important to mention a few limitations, especially regarding scientific writing.

For all the researchers out there, beware that Chat GPT can sometimes fabricate studies (yes, that is true). When it comes to certain specific studies or details within them, make sure to always double-check the information. On several occasions, ChatGPT mentioned a study supporting a claim, but I couldn’t find the study when I googled it. Other researchers have told me similar stories, so always double-check!

When given a prompt to write for a scientific article, it will tend to write long and complicated sentences. I guess the reason is that this is the style of most scientific papers, but it’s not a good style. It is thus then important to give prompts that define the style that you want (e.g., clear and precise). You can also ask ChatGPT to write in the style of your favorite scientific writer or give it an example of a scientific paper that you would like to emulate.

While ChatGPT is an impressive tool, it’s important to remember its limitations. Despite its vast database, it lacks creative and critical thinking capabilities, even though its responses may suggest the opposite. It’s essential to recognize these boundaries and use the tool responsibly. It cannot do your “critical thinking” for you, at least not yet (in this Nature article, you can read how some researchers tried and write an entire paper from scratch with ChatGPT and the hurdles they experienced).

Approach ChatGPT as a means to enhance yourself and your writing, to learn, explore, and nurture your curiosity. Utilize it as a helpful tool to refine your ideas and express them more effectively. However, avoid relying on it as a substitute for your thinking and originality. Recognize its potential while being mindful of its limitations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, ChatGPT offers an array of benefits for improving your writing. From enhancing technical aspects to providing creative ideas, it can be a valuable asset in your writing journey. By focusing on specific areas such as grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and more, you can leverage ChatGPT to achieve polished and engaging content.

The six pillars for using ChatGPT effectively serve as a guide to make the most of this remarkable tool. By providing clear instructions, asking clarifying questions, iterating on responses, and reviewing the content, you can collaborate well with ChatGPT.

However, it is essential to remember that ChatGPT has its limitations. Treat it as a writing assistant, not a replacement for your own creativity and thoughtfulness. You can use ChatGPT together with our Introduction Workbook, as well as with the Ultimate Writing Guide, to write the best possible article you can write!

So, there you have it. Don’t get left behind and miss out on the wonders that ChatGPT has to offer. The future is now! Experiment and unlock new horizons in your writing journey. Happy writing!

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