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Using AI tools for academic, scientific or report writing

There are two main camps in academia, as I found at a recent conference I attended. The first group comprises the early adopters of artificial intelligence, whereas the second regards AI to be rather unintelligent and unethical. Examples abound for those in the second group to prove their theory. Understandably, if you are teaching high school or undergraduate students, it must be frustrating to see some uses of it.

But those of us undertaking postgraduate research or research for our professional writing will find intelligent uses for it, and I belong to the first camp. Intelligent use of AI can help you fast-track your research and writing generally. As AI is still in its early stages, it is better to be cautious and use it where it identifies its sources and to check its claims – as any academic researcher, writer or staff member in these fields would do anyway.

How can it help us? Today AI can help us with our research, give us summaries of articles we need or wish to read, can suggest further reading ideas and be of general assistance to cut down time and focus on our topic. Explore these tools and you will see.

1 ChatGPT and Copilot (check which one is authorized by your organization and sign in) can summarize articles so that we can only read what deals with our specific topic. If you teach it by giving it specific instructions, it can produce what you want. It is only as good as the instructions you give. It can “hallucinate” (invent facts), so check all the sources carefully.

2 To get valid research articles and references, try Scite or Research Rabbit. Perplexity is another AI tool that gives all its sources.

3 ChatPDF can help us with our research by analysing articles we upload into it.

Upload a PDF and start asking it questions. It’s like ChatGPT, but for research papers.

For further reading on using AI for academic research, read this article about the views of Mushtaq Bilal, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern Denmark.


By Carol Waites (PhD)
Presentation/editing by Christina O’Shaughnessy (editor)

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