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ChatGPT and AI Literacy

Effective use of ChatGPT, Bing Chat and other language models

Different courses may have different policies

Before you use ChatGPT and similar tools in classroom work, it's best to check with your instructor. Policies may differ for each course and type of assignment.

Be sure to check Central European University's Policy on Student Plagiarism.

What is ChatGPT good for and not good for?

Remember, you'll always need to verify the information, because ChatGPT will sometimes make things ups (known as "hallucination.")

What is it good for?

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Generating keywords for searching in library databases. See Generate Topics for Your Research Paper with ChatGPT (from Univ. of Arizona Libraries)
  • Explaining information in ways that are easy to understand
  • Summarizing and outlining
  • Translating text to different languages (not completely fluent in every language).
  • Helping write or debug computing code.
  • Humor and entertainment.

What is it not good for?

  • Library research (not yet). For now, it's best to use library databases,or Google Scholar. This may change in the future with more specialized search tools based on LLMs. 
  • Asking for information that would have dire consequences if it was incorrect (such as health, financial, legal advice, and so on). This is because of its tendency to sometimes make up answers, but still sound very confident.


What is prompting?
Simply, it's what you type into the chat box.

The way you prompt makes a huge difference in the output that ChatGPT gives you. So it's worth learning some tips.

Tips for writing effective prompts

  1. Give it some context or a role to play.
  2. Give it very detailed instructions, including how you would like the results formatted.
  3. Keep conversing and asking for changes. Ask it to revise the answer in various ways.


  1. A role could be, "Act as an expert in [fill in the blank]." 
    Act as an expert community organizer.
    Act as a high school biology teacher.
    Act as a comedian.

  2. Example prompt:
    Act as an expert academic librarian. I’m writing a research paper for Sociology and I need help coming up with a topic. I’m interested in topics related to climate change. Please give me a list of 10 topic ideas related to climate change.

  3. Example of changes: (keep conversing until you get something useful)
    Now give me some sub-topics or research questions for [one of those topics]. And give me a list of keywords and phrases I can use to search for that topic in library databases and Google Scholar.



    I didn't like any of those topics. Please give me 10 more.

More tips

  1. Sometimes it gets confused if you change topics in the middle of a conversation. When you want to change the subject, start a new chat.
  2. It will remember what you've said in the course of a conversation, so you don't have to repeat everything again. Just continue like you're talking to your intern.
  3. Don't ask ChatGPT for a list of sources. It will make them up. Instead use library search, library databases, or Google Scholar.
  4. Choose an output format. In addition to paragraphs it can give you a table, a bulleted list, ascii art, multiple choice quiz questions, emojis, computer code, and more.
  5. In ChatGPT you can see a history of your conversations and in the settings you can delete your history and turn off the saving of future history. You can also export your history and save it on your own computer.
  6. Remember, don't enter any personal, private data in ChatGPT, because OpenAI may use your input to help improve the model. The free version is a research experiment.  If you don't want your data used to help improve ChatGPT, you can turn it off in the settings (which means it also won't save your previous chats for your own viewing)
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