Writing Framework to Refine CHAT-GPT Prompts For Technical Summaries

In part 3 of this CHAT-GPT writing tutorial, we’re looking at how to use Chat-GPT to refine the first draft of your summary, especially those of a technical nature.

As mentioned, at this point you should have a draft summary.

While that’s fine as a starting point, we can now refine the material with a few prompt tweaks.

Here’s seven ways to refine the draft summaries:

  1. Ask Chat-GPT to only include the most salient points in a summary. This keeps it focused and concise. Write, “Please include only the 3-5 most important points.”
  2. Request a one-sentence abstract followed by a 1-paragraph summary to get a high-level overview first before details.
  3. Tell it to omit repetitive information. For example: “Exclude repetitive or redundant information.”
  4. Ask it to write a summary in bullet points first, then convert the bullets into sentences and paragraphs. This ensures brevity and clarity.
  5. Summarize opposing viewpoints or alternate interpretations of the same information. Comparing conflicting summaries can provide a more nuanced view.
  6. Verify accuracy by asking it to cite sources, and quote statistics, facts, and passages from the original text in the summary.
  7. Edit the first draft for clarity, concision, grammar, etc. Ask it to review the edited summary.

Again, the way to ‘train’ it is to continually provide feedback to Chat-GPT/Claude.

Sample Summary

Here is an example prompt that provides instructions to Chat-GPT to generate a high-quality summary:

“Please write a 4-5 sentence summary of the 2018 research paper ‘The Effects of Climate Change on Agricultural Yields’ by Smith, Jones, and Lee. Only focus on summarizing the key findings and conclusions about how temperature increases and changing rainfall patterns are expected to impact crop yields in the United States, China, and India according to the study’s empirical analysis and climate model projections. Cite or quote the paper’s specific statistics on projected crop yield changes from the results section to support the summary. The summary should be written objectively, without opinion, and exclude repetitive details or background information not directly related to the research findings and conclusions. Please focus on being accurate, clear, and concise in the summary.”

This provides context about the paper, specific guidance on what to include/exclude, instruction to cite data for accuracy, and clear expectations about the summary’s style and length.

After providing this level of detail, Chat-GPT will be better equipped to generate a high-quality summary that fits your needs. You can then build on this example prompt structure for summarizing other texts.

Here’s another example prompt requesting a summary in a specific writing style suited for readers of technical documents:

“Please summarize the key findings from the 2021 research article ‘Improving Battery Efficiency with Nanowire Components’ by Johnson et al. in a technical writing style for an audience of engineers and scientists. The summary should be 3-4 sentences long and use concise, precise language and industry-specific terminology appropriate for a technical reader. Focus only on summarizing the main results about how nanowire structures led to a 5% increase in lithium-ion battery efficiency in the laboratory tests. Do not include background information, and avoid using descriptive language. Use an objective tone and cite any relevant quantitative results the authors provided to support statements about increased battery efficiency. The goal is to provide a clear, focused technical summary for readers who are familiar with battery engineering concepts and terminology.”

The key points here are:

  • Specify the intended audience and their level of knowledge (engineers/scientists familiar with the field).
  • Call for industry-specific terminology suitable for that audience.
  • Limit the length and scope to only the most relevant details.
  • Use an objective, technical tone without descriptive language.
  • Cite quantitative results for accuracy and precision.

This provides Chat-GPT with the context and instructions needed for to craft an appropriate technical summary tailored to a specific audience and writing style.

Related articles: 

  1. How to use CHAT-GPT to Summarize Technical Documents
  2. How to Write Chat-GPT Prompts for Technical Summaries
  3. Additional CHAT-GPT Prompt Writing Tips