Background: ChatGPT, a chatbot based on a large language model, captured global attention toward the end of 2022. With its potential to generate comprehensive texts of a variety of genres based on a string of straightforward prompts, it was soon perceived as a threat by many in various fields, including – and in particular – education. Schools across the world began banning its use as instructors started to receive suspiciously well-written essays and assignments from their students.

Aim: This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of use of ChatGPT among university students for written assignments, explore the ways students utilize the tool, and examine students’ perspectives on the ethical aspects of its use.

Method: An online questionnaire was designed to collect data from 201 students from private and public universities in Croatia.

Results: The results show that more than half of the participants use ChatGPT for written assignments, that most use it to generate ideas, while many use it to summarize, paraphrase, proofread, but also to write a part of the assignment for them. According to the participants, the most ethically acceptable use of ChatGPT is for generating ideas, while other uses are perceived by many as being unethical; this, however, has not prevented some students from engaging in behaviors they deem unethical.

Conclusion: We conclude that universities and instructors need to take a decisive stand on artificial intelligence in education and provide clear guidelines to students regarding the ethical use of ChatGPT and emerging technologies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Date

Winter 12-30-2023

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

English, Department of


College of Liberal Arts


RIT Croatia