The next generation of workers in practically every field will use AI in some way in their daily work, especially those in professional roles. Employers won’t be looking for button-pushers, though – and it’ll take much more creativity and ingenuity with AI to succeed in your own business.

Those who excel five, ten, or twenty years from now will be those with the greatest command of generative AI.

Using this technology responsibly and ethically in school today lays the foundation for succeeding with it in your career tomorrow. Technology is evolving fast, though, leaving educators and institutions at every level scrambling to keep up. The rules around AI essay writers may be unclear, and the consequences of being caught violating academic policy can be disastrous.

How can you use AI essay writers like ChatGPT, Jasper, Article Forge, or AI Writer ethically, responsibly, and without cheating?

In this post, you’ll find tips and prompts from an experienced managing editor to help you benefit from the best generative AI has to offer without violating educational codes of conduct and academic ethics.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through links on this site, at no cost to you.

Understand that AI essay writers are a tool, not a solution.

AI essay writers can be valuable tools for generating ideas, gathering information, or improving writing skills. However, they should not replace your critical thinking, research, and analysis. Use AI as a supplement, not a substitute, for your efforts.

One of the hallmarks of a good essay is that it proves the thesis statement. However, you must be able to provide a balance to your own beliefs by demonstrating your understanding of counterarguments to your thesis. These are the ingredients compelling essays are made of.

Generative AI can be a great help here. Use your AI essay writer to generate different viewpoints on the topic.

An essay research prompt to use with Jasper or ChatGPT.

Here are some examples of prompts you can use to further your understanding of the various perspectives real people have on any given topic, without having to seek out and interview multiple people:

  • Pretend you’re a [social worker / child and youth worker / federal court judge / police officer] and explain the challenges of [topic].
  • Provide a comparative analysis of the factors influencing [topic – let’s say copyright law] for [writers / editors / publishers / artists / media brands].
  • Explain the benefits and challenges of [topic] for [person A / person B / person C / person D].
  • Write two paragraphs about the value of [topic] from the perspective of a [chef / teacher / electrician / retail clerk / etc.].
  • Why does a [job title / type of support ] support or not support [issue]?
  • What objections might a [senior citizen / teenager / middle-aged woman] have to the implementation or widespread use of [issue]?

AI essay writers can help you generate ideas, but developing critical thinking skills is crucial. Engage with the generated content critically, evaluate its quality and relevance, and analyze different perspectives before incorporating them into your work.

Recommended reading: What is ChatGPT? An Introduction to OpenAI’s Conversational AI

Use conversational AI as a learning aid.

Approach AI essay writers as learning aids that can help you explore different perspectives, generate ideas, or identify potential sources. Utilize the generated content as a reference point to enhance your understanding of the topic.

Remember that ChatGPT and many other text generators only have access to the information they are trained on. Even when your conversational AI is connected to the live web, we know there’s plenty of misinformation and bias in online content. For these reasons, AI essay writers are a great help but can’t even fully function as a research assistant without ample oversight from humans (in this case, you, as it’s your name going on the essay).

Use prompts that will help expand your knowledge of the topic and find new informational avenues to pursue. Here are some examples:

  • Could you provide an overview of the causes and effects of [topic]?
  • What are the major theories regarding [topic]?
  • Please explain the impact of [topic].
  • Could you list and describe the main factors influencing [topic]?
  • What are the current advancements and potential applications of [topic]?
  • Please provide a historical analysis of [topic].
  • Could you explain the concept of [topic]?
  • What are the major challenges and potential solutions for [topic]?
  • Please discuss the ethical implications of [topic].
  • What are the major theories and evidence supporting [topic]?
An example of an AI text generator prompt for use in essay research.

Of course, you won’t take the generative AI’s output and paste it into your essay. Instead, use its topic coverage to inspire your research and ensure your essay is comprehensive, balanced, and complete.

Recommended reading: How to Use Quillbot Co-Writer as Your AI Writing Assistant

Practice ethical research and citation.

Follow proper research and citation practices when using AI-generated content or other external sources. Cite your sources accurately, giving credit to the authors and avoiding plagiarism. (Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab is a good resource if you aren’t confident in your abilities here.)

It’s critical that you fact-check every piece of information your AI assistant provides. Even when it seems to have given you the source, double-check. ChatGPT, in particular, is known to “hallucinate” (a nice way of saying it makes things up out of thin air – even citations).

Generative AI can state misinformation convincingly, and you could look foolish – and uninformed – as a result. Never take it at its word. Double-check that all quotes, dates, statistics, citations, and other information are accurate, and use the original data source in your citation.

In a world of deep fakes and rampant misinformation, fact-checking will only grow in importance. Whether writing new content, generating and validating code, or working with images and video, meticulously separating fact from fiction will be a valuable and sought-after skill.

Use generative AI as your personal editing assistant.

As essay writing coach and tutor Sanibel Chai shared in NYMag recently, ChatGPT doesn’t do well at writing full-length essays.

Sure, it can churn one out quickly. But its writing is flat, predictable, and formulaic. In Can ChatGPT Write a Good College-Admissions Essay? Sanibel highlights ChatGPT’s tendency to fluff pieces out with pithy transitional phrases, generic narrative, and flat prose. Even when it does precisely what it’s designed to do, ChatGPT mimics everything else out there.

Self-reflection, storytelling, interesting segues driven by random thoughts and human connections – this is where ChatGPT falls flat. But as Chai points out, “If you want to share facts in a digestible and clear way, ChatGPT is your guy.”

Don’t rely on ChatGPT and other AI writers like Jasper and ContentBot to create a decent essay from scratch. In addition to helping you with inspiration and research, AI can help you edit your first draft.

Try these prompts on sentences, paragraphs, and sections of your essay:

  • Rewrite this in a less formal, more conversational tone.
  • Edit this paragraph for clarity.
  • What is the main point of this paragraph? (If it’s unclear to your AI, you need to rewrite.)
  • Can you copyedit this for me? (You might also like to use Grammarly here.)
  • Rewrite this to make it more authoritative and remove any passive language.
  • Check this text for consistent use of verb tense.
  • Are there any run-on sentences in this text?
  • Remove unnecessary adverbs from this passage of text.
  • Improve this essay’s readability.

Be transparent with your instructor and peers.

If you use an AI essay writer, be honest and open with your instructor. Discuss your intention to use it as a learning tool and seek guidance on effectively incorporating AI generators into your work.

Engage with your instructors, peers, or writing centers to seek feedback and guidance throughout the writing process. They can help you develop your writing skills, provide insights, and maintain academic integrity.

If all you hear is “No” when discussing generative AI with professors or instructors, see what you can do to engage your school’s leadership in an open conversation.

Are there written guidelines and policies in place (most higher academic institutions have taken a position on AI by now), and are they out of date? Can you campaign for changes? Pinpoint the areas of concern within the current policy that you believe need updating, whether those are ethical considerations, privacy issues, or potential biases in AI-generated content. Collect evidence, case studies, and relevant examples that support your position and show that you understand policymakers’ concerns.

Can you appeal to or join a working group or advisory panel at your institution to provide your input?

See if there’s a student group that shares your concerns and work together to strengthen your voice and provide a platform for collective action. Leverage social media, online petitions, or campus forums to raise awareness about the issue and gather support from the student community.

If possible, consult with professors, researchers, or professionals in the field of AI ethics or policy. Their expertise and guidance can lend credibility to your cause and strengthen your arguments.

Bottom Line

Generative AI isn’t a place students can afford to sit still and hope for the best. This isn’t the time or place to take advantage and hope you get away with doing the bare minimum, either. Using AI to cheat isn’t going to fly in the real world – and isn’t that what you’re paying tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in school to prepare for?

As digital natives who’ve grown up in the current technological environment, students have a significant voice regarding the ethical, responsible use of AI. This includes how it’s used in essays.

Remember, the purpose of education is to learn and grow. By using AI essay writers ethically, you can enhance your understanding of the subject matter, improve your writing skills, and maintain academic integrity even while producing a markedly better final product.

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