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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

An introduction to generative AI and its use in teaching, research, and publishing.

Prompt Writing Tips

Prompt writing involves crafting well-formulated and specific instructions or queries, known as prompts, to interact with AI models effectively and obtain desired outputs. Writing effective prompts is crucial for achieving accurate and relevant responses from AI. These prompts guide the AI in understanding the context and task you want it to perform, influencing the quality of the generated output. Below are some tips for writing effective prompts.

Be specific
Clearly define your task or question ("List and explain three historical causes of World War II"). Vague prompts tend to produce equally vague or irrelevant responses. Avoid ambiguity by providing context and details.
Define your audience or use case
Specify who this content is intended for or how it will be used ("Write a college-level essay for an undergraduate English course"). This helps the AI better understand the context and generate more relevant and useful responses.
Specify the desired length, format, style, and/or tone
In order to generate outputs tailored to meet your specific needs, specify the desired length ("250 words or less"), format ("bulleted list"), style ("in the style of William Shakespeare"), and/or tone ("enthusiastic").
Break down complex tasks
Break complex tasks down into simpler sub-tasks, asking AI to solve each individually. This improves the likelihood of getting more focused relevant responses that can be combined to form parts of a whole.
Proof-read your prompt to ensure it is free of typographical and grammatical errors. While some AI models can interpret and correct common misspellings, providing clear and correct prompts helps ensure you get the best response.
Iterate and refine
If you're not satisfied with the initial response, ask follow up questions or experiment with different phrasings and instructions. Minor changes can sometimes lead to vastly different outcomes.

Prompt Writing Examples

Below are examples of AI prompts an instructor might use in their teaching. These examples are just illustrative. The effectiveness of prompts may vary based on the specific AI model, context, and platform you're using. Flexibility, experimentation, and ongoing refinement are key aspects of mastering the art of prompt writing. Click on the example to view the prompt and output in ChatGPT.

Prompt Writing Resources


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