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AI Tools and Resources

How to use ChatGPT, Bard, Bing's AI, and other generative AI tools in your research

How to Access AI Tools

Is it OK to Use Chatbots?

It is your responsibility to check with your instructors to find out whether they allow tools like ChatGPT, and how you may use them for your course.

Getting Started with Generative AI

You can use AI tools like a personal research assistant. It’s not the same thing as meeting with a librarian or your course instructor, but it can be helpful.

Chatbots like ChatGPT can:

  • Make a customized, step-by-step research plan for you
  • Generate search terms you can use to look for scholarly articles on the Lavery Library website
  • Create a list of possible subtopic ideas for your research topic
  • Translate scholarly articles into everyday language

Get Help from Lavery Library

Lavery Library can help. Contact the Fisher librarians, who can help you do things like find scholarly sources and understand how to create citations and references lists. 

Librarians can also help you use generative AI tools when your instructors allow it. Librarians can help you explore research topics, fact-check information from generative AI tools, and find sources.

Librarian Tips: Using Generative AI as a Research Assistant

Try This

You can try these prompts in Bing, Bard, ChatGPT and other text-based AI platforms. Copy and paste the following text, customizing it for your topic:

  • Act as if you are my personal research librarian. Come up with a plan for me to research [topic] and find scholarly sources. Outline the steps I should take.
  • List ten search terms I should use to search library databases for scholarly or peer-reviewed articles on [topic].
  • I am writing a research paper on [topic]. Make a list of ten thesis statements on this topic.
  • I'm writing an undergraduate research paper about [topic]. List five subtopics I could explore as I arrange my paper.
  • Can you summarize the results section of this article in common language? [paste article results section text]

Tips for Good Prompts

  • Don’t treat a chatbot like a Google search. Don’t type in one question and stop. Do ask follow-up questions until you get answers that work for you.
  • Keep threads open and add to them. Don’t start a new question thread every time like you would with a Google search. As you add more questions to open threads, you’ll get better information, since the chatbot will build on what it’s already provided in the thread.

Fact-Check Articles & Sources They Suggest

Did you find articles using a chatbot? Wait! Chatbots make up fake articles and books and other information sources. Check and see if the sources are real. And, if they are, find and read the full text (PDF or hard copy). We show you how to do this on Evaluating & Citing:

Librarian Tips: What it Can't Do for You

Chatbots are Terrible at Finding Scholarly Sources

ChatGPT, Bard, and other chatbots do a terrible job when it comes to finding scholarly sources.

As of fall semester 2023, it's a known issue that tools like ChatGPT will "hallucinate" sources when asked to "cite their sources" by a user; in other words the chat bot will create fake information. The fake information can include sources that don't exist or misrepresentation of a real source by inaccurately reporting what it says. This is one of the biggest reasons to evaluate and fact-check the sources you find using an AI tool. 

It is your responsibility to find, read, evaluate, and cite any sources suggested by these tools. Librarians can help you do this. They can also help you use generative AI when it is allowed in your coursework.

They Can't be Unbiased

Chatbots aren't neutral. They can produce results that demonstrate political bias, racism, sexism, and other biases. 

They Can't Generate Citations and References Lists

These tools are bad at creating citations. They don’t properly format citations in APA, MLA, or other styles.

Remember to Evaluate & Cite

Hallucination is one of the biggest reasons to evaluate and fact-check the sources you find using an AI tool. Visit Evaluating & Citing to learn more:

Word of Caution: Copyright

You should be cautious about entering any copyrighted material into the prompt of any generative AI tool.

Here are a few scenarios to consider:

  • If you are entering copyrighted material into any generative AI tool, you should be protected by Fair Use as long as you use the information for educational purposes and in a way that follows Fisher's Academic Integrity Policy.
  • You should not enter any copyrighted material into the prompts of any generative AI tool if you are not doing so for educational purposes. This may violate copyright.
  • You should be cautious about entering any of your own work into a generative AI prompt, as that material may be shared with others without acknowledging your authorship.


AI Tools for Finding Scholarly Sources

These tools use AI differently than chatbots like ChatGPT and Bing. They are research-focused. They allow you to conduct literature searches in order to find articles on your topic.

Each of these tools can show you earlier papers referenced in an article and show you who has cited an article since it was published.

Lavery Library Tools

Other Online Tools

When you are using these tools, you will find abstracts and snippets from articles. To find and read the full text (PDF) of an article, you can follow the steps in Lavery Library's tutorial Finding Full Text: Article Title. Visit Evaluating & Citing for more how-tos.