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Libraries and Learning Skills

Study skills (Learning Development)

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What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is ‘the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings’ (Copeland, 2023). AI systems use algorithms to process large amounts of data.  Writing text, generating images and videos, summarising journal articles, translating languages and making decisions are just some of the tasks that AI can complete.  

If using generative AI tools in your learning, it is important you understand what is considered appropriate. The use of AI when completing assessments is only permitted if you have been told by your tutor that is it acceptable.

It is essential that you maintain academic integrity when using AI tools in your academic research and work so you should only use them to support your learning. Despite the impact of AI, it is still equally important you maintain your own development of skills and knowledge.

It is an academic offence at the University of Lincoln if you use AI tools to generate an answer to an assessment or submit any part of a response generated by AI as your own work. If you use AI tools as part of the learning process, you must maintain good academic practice and integrity by acknowledging your use of AI tools in the development of your work. Failure to include this information could result in an investigation to see if you have committed an academic offence. Click here for more information about academic integrity.

If using AI to research a topic you must check all information generated is correct. AI is known to fabricate information, including references to journal articles. AI can be useful to gather background knowledge on a particular topic and create a search strategy (a list of keywords and phrases to use to find sources) but you must always be critical of the response and evaluate it.

AI technology is developing fast and, if you haven’t already, you will start to see it in software and search engines that you use daily. AI is taking searching to a new level; it has introduced a more conversational approach to gathering information.

You will need to develop your digital skills and remember to think critically when using any AI tools. The library can support you with your use of AI by providing guidance on how to develop good academic practice and critical awareness skills when using generative AI. These skills will ensure you use generative AI tools responsibly and ethically.

When using AI tools, make sure you:

  1. Check the response – review the information generated by comparing it with other sources and your own knowledge. Do you trust what has been generated and is it biased?
  2. Verify all references – AI creates references from known experts in the field and existing sources, so you need to search for the references either on the library website or through Google Scholar. Does the book or article exist and are the publication details correct?
  3. If references do exist, check they support the response – AI may use references incorrectly, so it is important to check what the sources are about. Does the source support what the AI tool claims?
  4. Acknowledge and reference any generative responses you use in your work – even if you don’t cite from the information generated by AI, you still need to acknowledge that you have used it as part of the learning and/or research process.

If you are allowed to use AI to help you develop your ideas, research or plan the writing process, it must be acknowledged appropriately, even if you do not include any content generated from AI in your assessment.

Your tutor should provide guidance on how to do this but, if this information has not been given you should acknowledge the use of generative AI tools by:

  • including a statement of acknowledgment (see example below), and
  • a description (see example below) of use
  • you may also want to save a copy of the transcript of your questions and the AI generated responses to include in an appendix. You can do this by either right clicking on the page and selecting ‘Save as’ to save the webpage or by taking a screenshot.


Image with a wooden sign with ethics, accountability, principles, integrity and values on it.

Edit and use the statement that best reflects your use of AI:

I acknowledge the use of [name of AI tool(s) and link(s)] to generate material for background research and independent study. I confirm that no content generated by AI has been presented as my own work.


I acknowledge the use of [name of AI tool(s) and link(s)] to generate material that I have adapted to include within my final assessment. I confirm that no content generated by AI has been presented as my own work.

Use the statement that best describes your use of AI:

The following prompts were used in [name of AI tool]: [add the prompts]


The following output was obtained using [name of AI tool]: [paste the output generated by the AI tool]


The output from [name of AI tool] was adapted: [explain how you adapted the output for use in your work]

If you are required to cite information generated by AI, reference it by providing the following information:

  • AI generator
  • Date generated
  • Short description of information generated
  • Day and month content was generated.
In Harvard Referencing this would follow the format:
ChatGPT (2023) Use of AI in higher education, 15 August.
Generative AI creates unrecoverable content, so the reference does not require a URL.
Reference list

Copeland, B.J. (2023) Artificial intelligence. In: Encyclopedia Britannica. Available from [accessed 14 August 2023].


The content on this page has derived (with permission) from information about AI on the following websites: