Best Practice When Using Generative AI

In 2023, ChatGPT and other types of generative AI received widespread attention, raising questions around what are appropriate and/or inappropriate uses of these tools.

The ANU Academic Integrity Rule 2021 does not currently address ChatGPT and generative AI; however, this Chat_GPT_FAQ addresses some common questions, and this Generative AI LibGuide  identifies how generative AI can be cited as an information source. Due to the diversity of assessments and disciplines at ANU, applications of generative AI - and hence what is deemed appropriate - may differ across disciplines. It is worth talking to your course convener or booking an appointment with Academic Skills if you wish to discuss the appropriateness of using Chat GPT in your study context.

Ultimately, generative AI is a permissible learning tool, and can be cited as a research source. However, it is important to note the following:

  • Generative AI is not an academic source, hence may be inappropriate to cite or use in an assignment
  • Information produced by generative AI may be incorrect, unsubstantiated, or out of date

Therefore, using generative AI carries the risk of undermining your work and credibility as a researcher. Remember, assignment work is not simply creating an end product, but developing a suite of skills in time and workload management, critical thinking, reading and research, and academic writing along the way that will serve you across your degree and in your future careers.

Finally, while Chat GPT is not mentioned in the university's pre-dating Academic Integrity Rule, there are overlaps between actions considered breaches of academic integrity (link to previous page) and use of generative AI. In particular:

  • Plagiarism - when we submit words or ideas copied, in part or whole, from other sources without acknowledgment
  • Ghost writing/contract cheating - when we submit work written or rewritten by another party, in part of whole, as our own.

Therefore, it is important to ensure we continue to research and write with integrity when using generative AI, as we would any source. Generative AI can support the research process, but should not substitute the research and especially writing process.

Follow the steps below when using generative AI to ensure you are working with integrity.

Do NotDo
  • Copy verbatim text produced by generative AI verbatim in your assignment
  • Use text produced by generative AI as a substitute for your own research and writing
  • Neglect to reference generative AI used in research
  • Use generative AI as a research/brainstorming prompt to guide you towards superior, substantiated sources
  • Clarify what is deemed appropriate and inappropriate in your program/s and courses
  • Ask yourself if your use of generative AI is consistent with the Best practice principles for learners
  • Ask yourself if your use of generative AI overlaps with recognised breaches of academic integrity (link to prev page)
  • If you must incorporate information generated by generative AI in your paper