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FNDS/PBL 104: People and Technology

Generative AI tool as your research assistant?

Generative AI tools, like UM-GPT and Chat-GPT, are not able to reliably provide information about research materials like books and peer-reviewed articles. While some AI tools, like Perplexity-AI and others, may provide citations of where they are pulling information from, the sources are not often the reliable, peer-reviewed scholarly sources we use for academic research. In a recent prompt to Chat-GPT to provide a list of peer-reviewed article citations on a topic the reply stated, 

"As an AI language model, I don't have direct access to databases or the ability to search for specific peer-reviewed articles. Please note that the availability of specific peer-reviewed articles may vary, and it's recommended to access scholarly databases or libraries to find the most up-to-date and relevant research articles (OpenAI, 2023)."  

Beyond the lack of ability to search for peer-reviewed articles, or the ability to provide accurate citations to resources that actually exist, Generative AI tools often hallucinate or confidently provide inaccurate information. You should be verifying information and finding research materials using the library or other reliable research tools. 

When using AI: Key Considerations

Key considerations

Suggested checklist of what to consider when using and creating with generative AI:


Modified from Deakin University Library's Guide, "Using Generative AI" 

Ways to use AI to enhance your research experience

  • brainstorm topic ideas 
  • brainstorm keywords to search in library databases and in Mardigian Search 
  • get started on understanding a topic you are unfamiliar with. Use this information to find more credible information sources that you can verify accuracy more easily. 
  • summarize articles 
    • please note that these sometimes can be inaccurate so do not entirely rely on these summarizations

Remember, it is always important to check with your professor about what they consider to be acceptable uses of AI for your class assignments and work.

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