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Study Skills: Ethical use of AI

Books and online tutorials to help you understand, practice and improve your study skills

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to computer systems able to perform complex tasks such as writing text, creating images and video, personalisation, and language translation.  Real-life examples you  may be aware of are driverless cars, digital assistants like Alexa, Bing Chat, and Social Media recommendations.  AI tools are embedded in many of the applications you use at home and in college, and are increasingly used in the workplace.

You may want to use tools such as ChatGPT and Beautiful.AI in your college assignments.  It is important that you follow some basic rules before considering whether to use these tools, and if so, how to use them responsibly and ethically.  Remember that most assignments are designed to showcase your own ideas, understanding and abilities, so you should always use these tools to enhance these rather than replace them. 

The author acknowledges the information from Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in your work - Referencing - NPTCLibGuides at NPTC Group of Colleges in creating this guide.

ChatGPT and generative AI text tools

ChatGPT, Google Bard and other language tools are types of chatbot that have been trained on huge amounts of language and data from the internet enabling them to predict text based on patterns they have learnt. These can produce human-like writing extremely quickly based on prompts fed in by the person using the technology. 

You can feed prompts to generate essays, lesson plans, helpsheets, stories and poems, and all other forms of human text. This is why they are known as 'generative AI'. 

Can you use AI tools in your college work?

  • You must check with your teacher to see if generative AI can be used in your work.
  • If so, you must reference all parts of the work that were created by the AI tool.  Please see the box on Referencing AI for more information. You should never submit any material generated by AI as your own - this is plagiarism.  Please see the college's academic misconduct policy here. 
  • AI tools are not always accurate. You must check any information provided by AI tools by consulting reliable sources from books, journals, or high quality websites. Please consult our guide on Evaluating Sources for help with this.  AI regularly provides false references - these must be checked before using in your assignments. 

Other AI tools for studying

There are many more AI tools you can use while studying. Remember to always check with your teacher first. 

AI tools for image and video creation

  • Bing Image Creator. Use Bing to create an image using your own words. Add descriptive words, locations, even artistic styles - the more descriptive the better, to create the image you want.  You will need to sign in using your Microsoft username and password.  For example, you could type Bradford Future 2040 in the style of Picasso

Referencing the use of AI in your work

Quoting or paraphrasing AI in your assignments

Check with your teacher that you can use AI text in your assignment.  If so, you must reference this whether you are using direct quotes or paraphrasing. We are using ChatGPT as an example but please enter the name of the AI tool you used when referencing. 

When asked about the ethical use of ChatGPT in education, the response was "If you're using ChatGPT-generated content, it's crucial to cite it appropriately. Give credit to the AI model as the source of the information, just as you would cite any other source. This is similar to referencing a book, article, or website" (Open AI ChatGPT, 2023). 


ChatGPT-generated text should be cited in the way that you also cite books and websites.  This is to give credit to ChatGPT as the source of the material (Open AI ChatGPT, 2023). 

In your reference list:  

OpenAI ChatGPT (2023) ChatGPT response to your name here, 9th November

eg . OpenAI ChatGPT (2023) ChatGPT response to Lakshmi Banner, 9th November

It is also advised to save a copy of the full transcript, which is usually provided by the AI tool, and copy and paste it in full into an appendix at the end of your assignment. This will record both your prompts and the results. 

Using AI for research

Unless explicitly told not to use AI tools for research, you can use them to generate ideas for further investigation. Do not rely on these alone - this would be like only reading a wikipedia page and relying on that. But tools such as ChatGPT are excellent for pointing you to new ideas and areas for further research. Using prompts will help you to decide on what you really need to know.  And you can look at the structure of the responses you receive to get ideas for how to present your own work - these tools are very good at logically structuring their replies. 

Using AI to improve your writing style and grammar

You should not ask an AI tool to rewrite your text and paste it as your own into your assignment unless this has been approved by your teacher.  However, you can ask AI to suggest ways of improving your vocabulary and grammar, and apply that information to your own writing.

You can acknowledge the use of AI by using the following wording (amend to a statement that covers your use of AI):

I acknowledge the use of OpenAI ChatGPT to generate materials for background research and independent study, however, the writing is my own and no content generated by AI has been presented as my own work.


I acknowledge the use of OpenAI ChatGPT to improve my grammar, however, the writing is my own and no content generated by AI has been presented as my own work.