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AI for Academic Writing: From Blank Page to 5,000-Word Draft! [Screen Share Walk Through]

Academic writing often conjures images of endless coffee cups beside a blank screen, the cursor blinking expectantly as the hours pass. This was my world too, until I discovered the transformative power of AI in academic writing.

In my YouTube video, “Academic Writing with AI: From Blank Page to 5000 Words,” I share how artificial intelligence, particularly AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Claude, has revolutionized my approach to creating academic content.

The Dread of the Blank Page

As an academic, the tasks of crafting lengthy research papers and book chapters are both essential and daunting. The initial stage—staring at a blank page, wondering how to start—can be the most intimidating. However, the advent of AI tools has introduced a new efficiency to this process, turning dread into productivity.

AI Chatbots as Writing Partners

AI chatbots, equipped with sophisticated natural language processing capabilities, have become invaluable in my writing process. These tools assist not just in drafting preliminary outlines but in significantly fleshing out entire sections of content.

Here’s how I use AI to enhance my academic writing:

  • Generating Outlines: I begin by asking the AI to provide a detailed outline based on the central thesis and key points of my research.
  • Expanding Sections: Following the outline, I use prompts to direct the AI to develop each section further, integrating summaries of relevant literature and constructing solid arguments.
  • Creating Drafts: What emerges is a robust first draft, rich with information and perspectives, which I can then refine and align with my academic voice.

Watch the Video

In this video, I share my screen to reveal my process of transforming a blank page into a 5,000-word draft.

Note. All the prompts I used with ChatGPT and Claude (featured in the video) are provided below.

Streamlined Process and Ethical Considerations

This method has not only slashed my writing time but also allowed me to focus more on refining my ideas and enhancing the arguments, rather than getting bogged down by the mechanics of writing. It’s crucial, however, to employ these AI tools ethically. Transparency about using AI in my work is a priority, as is thorough editing to ensure that the final output truly reflects my insights.

A Game-Changer for Academics

For fellow academics struggling with writer’s block or time constraints, AI chatbots could be the breakthrough you need. These tools can handle the initial heavy lifting, so you can devote more time to critical thinking and becoming the architect of your work.

Embracing AI in academic writing doesn’t just mean faster output. It’s about smarter, more focused writing where technology handles the preliminary tasks, allowing you to engage more deeply with your topic.

For more insights and a detailed walkthrough where I share my screen as I build out an academic book chapter using AI tools, watch my full video on YouTube.

If you’d like to read all the prompts I used in conversation with ChatGPT and Claude, check them out below.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, consider signing up for my newsletter ‘T3’, where I share tips, tricks, and tools on AI + Technology for the higher education sector.

Prompts Used in the Video

The following prompts were featured in the video “Academic Writing with AI: From Blank Page to 5000 Words“. The AI-generated content is not provided below but can be viewed in the video.

ChatGPT prompts

  • Act in the role of an experienced academic writer who is skilled at writing engaging book chapters and blog posts for an academic audience. Your tone is professional and conversational. You are great at explaining complex ideas and tasks in simple language to an audience who might be unfamiliar with the topic. Acknowledge and await further instruction. Thanks.
  • I want you to help me write a book chapter. The chapter is about working with academic text in partnership with an AI chatbot (e.g., ChatGPT). In the chapter, I want to explain to the reader how AI chatbots could be used to edit text. For example, how a .pdf of existing text could be uploaded into the chatbot and the chatbot asked to assist with providing editorial feedback. I also want to include information on how the chatbot could assist with doing things like expanding text, contracting the length of text, and rephrasing text for different audiences. If there are additional use cases you can think of that might be of a value to the reader please include them too. You first task is to write an outline for the chapter. The chapter should be 3,000 words long. Thanks.
  • Thanks, that’s great!!!
  • Can you please go ahead and write the ‘Introduction’ section as you outlined above: Introduction Overview of AI in academic settings Introduction to AI chatbots, with a focus on their application in text editing Objectives of the chapter
  • Thanks. I want you to now write the second section, which is about ‘uploading and analysing text with AI’. But, I’d like you to begin by writing a brief overview of how AI chatbots can make great editorial assistants (e.g., they are always available, you don’t need to feel stressed about sharing your work with someone, they are relatively cost effective/cheap to use). After you’ve written the overview, then provide a detailed step-by-step explanation of how the person should save their writing (.pdf – or other file types depending on what files the chatbot accepts), uploading the file, and then suggest prompts that the academic can use to get the chatbot to provide editorial guidance on the text. Thanks!
  • Thanks. Can you now please write this section: Tailoring Text to Different Needs 1. Expanding text: How to instruct the chatbot to elaborate on key points 2. Contracting text: Techniques for asking the chatbot to condense sections 3. Rephrasing for different audiences: Academic, layman, policy-focused, etc.
  • Thanks! This is really great. You’re doing a great job!
  • I’d like you to write the next section: Advanced Text Manipulation 1. Generating summaries and abstracts with the chatbot’s assistance 2. Creating multiple versions of the same text for different publication formats In this section, please focus on rephrasing written text for different audiences. For example, editing a section of text that’s very ‘academic’ to make it suitable for a popular culture publication.
  • Thanks. Now please write this section: Innovative Uses of AI in Text Editing 1. Predictive text completion for faster writing 2. Generating questions and critical thinking prompts from the text 3. Using the chatbot for peer review and feedback simulation
  • Please write this section: Ethical Considerations and Best Practices 1. Ensuring academic integrity when using AI tools 2. Navigating copyright and originality issues 3. Best practices for integrating AI feedback effectively
  • Thanks! Now write this section: Future Perspectives 1. The evolving role of AI in academic research and writing 2. Potential developments in AI capabilities in text editing 3. How academics can prepare for future advancements
  • Thanks! Now please write this section: Conclusion 1. Recap of the capabilities of AI chatbots in editing academic texts 2. The potential impact on academic writing practices 3. Final thoughts on the responsible use of AI in academic settings
  • Please write this section: Further Reading and Resources 1. Recommended readings on AI in education 2. Links to online tutorials and how-to guides on using AI chatbots 3. Professional organizations and conferences focusing on AI in academia
  • Are the references you suggested real (fact) or did you make them up?
  • Ok. Thanks. Please don’t make things up, and just stick to the ‘facts’ 🙂
  • Can you write three detailed activities that readers could try after they’ve finished reading the chapter?

Claude prompts

  • Act in the role of an experienced academic writer who is skilled at writing engaging book chapters and SEO optimised blog posts for an academic audience. Your tone is professional and conversational. You are great at explaining complex ideas and tasks in simple language to an audience who might be unfamiliar with the topic. In this role, I need your help to improve the narrative flow and overall writing style of the attached book chapter.
    The audience for the chapter is academic writers.
  • Thanks. Can you help rewrite the chapter for me, integrating the suggestions you just proposed. I want the chapter to be 5,000 words in length. Please write this for me.
  • Thanks! That’s great. I love the tone and style of writing 🙂 Can you now rewrite the three activities to include at the end of the chapter. Use the activities in the chapter I uploaded.
  • Thanks. I just noticed that you didn’t finish writing the chapter earlier. You stopped here “So, what’s next? If you’re intrigued by the potential of AI chatbots and want to start incorporating them into your own” Can you please continue/finish it
  • I think you forgot to write about ‘expanding’ and ‘contracting’ text. This information was included in the attached chapter. Can you please write this section.
  • Thanks. Great work so far 🙂
    I would like you to rewrite this example you provided, for the section on using an AI chatbot to create a concise abstract. Specifically, provide a qualitative research example.
    This is the text I want replaced with a qualitative research example:
    Original text:
    “The study, which involved a sample of 500 participants aged 18-65, used a randomized controlled trial design to assess the effectiveness of the XYZ intervention. Participants were divided into two groups: an intervention group that received the XYZ treatment, and a control group that received a placebo. The primary outcome measure was scores on the ABC cognitive assessment, which was administered at baseline and after 6 months. Secondary outcome measures included self-reported quality of life and daily functioning. The results showed a statistically significant improvement in cognitive scores for the intervention group compared to the control group (p<0.05), as well as improvements in self-reported quality of life (p<0.01). There were no significant differences in daily functioning between the two groups. These findings suggest that the XYZ intervention is a promising approach for improving cognitive function in adults, although further research is needed to assess its long-term effects and generalizability to other populations.”
    Chatbot prompt:
    “Please condense this passage into a 150-word abstract that highlights the key findings and their significance.”
    Condensed abstract:
    “This randomized controlled trial investigated the effectiveness of the XYZ intervention for improving cognitive function in adults aged 18-65. Participants (n=500) were assigned to either an intervention group receiving XYZ treatment or a control group receiving a placebo. Cognitive function, measured by the ABC assessment, and self-reported quality of life were assessed at baseline and 6 months. The intervention group showed significant improvements in cognitive scores (p<0.05) and quality of life (p<0.01) compared to the control group, although no differences in daily functioning were observed. These findings suggest that XYZ is a promising approach for enhancing cognitive function in adults, with potential to improve quality of life. Further research is needed to establish long-term effects and generalizability. This study contributes to the growing body of evidence supporting the use of XYZ interventions in cognitive health promotion.”
  • Thanks. Please also change this example of expanding a passage from a quantitative example into a qualitative example. I want a qualitative research example, thanks!
    Original text: “The study found that the intervention had a significant impact on participants’ well-being. These findings suggest that this approach could be a valuable tool for improving mental health outcomes.”
    Chatbot prompt: “Please suggest ways to expand on the findings and implications of this study, providing more detail on the specific impact of the intervention and the potential applications of this approach.”
    Expanded text: “The study found that the mindfulness-based intervention had a significant impact on several key dimensions of participants’ well-being. Compared to the control group, those who received the intervention reported greater reductions in symptoms of depression (p<0.01), anxiety (p<0.05), and stress (p<0.001). They also showed significant improvements in measures of positive affect (p<0.01), self-compassion (p<0.05), and overall life satisfaction (p<0.01).
  • The originally attached document has a section on “Innovative Uses of AI in Text Editing,” which covers topics such as predictive text completion, generating questions and critical thinking prompts, and using chatbots for peer review and feedback simulation. These innovative uses are not explored in the second document. Can you write a section about this so I can include it in the re-write 🙂
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