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Academic Integrity: Using AI tools for assignments

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Can I use AI tools for my assignments?

AI technology is developing all the time and there is now a wealth of choice in AI-assisted tools that can help with assessments.

The short answer to the above question is sometimes, because it depends what you are using the tools for.

You may be required to use AI tools as part of an assignment, but if their use is not specified, in order to decide if you are able to use them, you need to be aware of what is appropriate use, and what the issues might be if you do use them, particularly for generative AI (GenAI) tools.

Quick links

What is generative AI (GenAI)?

Generative artificial intelligence is a creative tool that will form written, aural or visual content. The content is generated when the user gives the tool written prompts.

Popular GenAI include ChatGPT, Google Gemini (formerly Google Bard) and Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bingchat) for written content, and Midjourney and DALL-E for image generation.

How do they work?

They are what's called Large Language Models (LLMs), which are "high-powered pattern recognition machines. The output they generate in response to a query is generated via probability: each word or part of an image is selected based on the likelihood that it appears in a similar image or phrase in its database" (Haggart, 2024, para. 5).

Haggart, B. (2024, June 12). Google’s use of AI to power search shows its problematic approach to organizing information. The Conversation.

Risks of using AI tools for assignments

For more information about the potential harms of generative AI, see this post from the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor.

Our recommendation: Duck Duck Go AI chat. It anonymises your chats, so that private information is kept private, and it doesn't use data for training. 

Appropriate and inappropriate use of AI tools

Using AI tools to check/improve writing quality

Do not use Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Google Gemini, or Microsoft Copilot to check or improve the quality of your writing for the following reasons:

1. Privacy and security: Anything you input into these AI models may be used for data training or sold to third parties. This means any personal information about yourself or anybody else you have included in your assignment is at risk of being freely available as 'searchable' information, or onsold to advertisers. Parts of your work could also be generated as an output to other users of the AI model.

2. Turnitin AI count: You will get a very high, if not 100%, AI count.

3. Paraphrasing risks: Your work must be your own words in your own voice. It may be very tempting to get AI tools to improve your writing, but anything beyond spelling and grammar checks may be considered plagiarism (not your own work).

Tools you can use

1. Use the spelling and grammar checks in Word. Avoid Add-in tools. These writing assistants go beyond spelling and grammar, and using them may be considered plagiarism (not your own work).

2. Grammarly is an approved tool for checking spelling and grammar. See our advice on using Grammarly safely and which tools inside Grammarly to avoid.

Using Grammarly

Using Grammarly for improving assignments

Grammarly is an approved tool. It does use AI to detect areas of your work that need improvement, so it will produce an AI count via Turnitin. However, kaiako are aware of this and take it into consideration when reviewing AI use percentages.

You do not need to reference Grammarly if you use it for spelling and grammar only.

Appropriate use of Grammarly for assignments

Use Grammarly in the following way to avoid issues around academic misconduct:

1. Turn off automatic suggestions that occur as you write - in other words, complete the first draft of your assignment without any help from Grammarly.

2. Save this draft and keep it as a raw (untouched by Grammarly) document that you can produce as proof of your original work if you are interviewed by your kaiako about AI use.

3. Use Grammarly for spelling and grammatical checks only by uploading your document to your Grammarly account.

4. Save the edited version as a separate document to your original one.

Inappropriate use of Grammarly for assignments

You must produce writing that has been written by you and is in your own voice. Grammarly has new AI functionality, that if used, would produce writing that would not be considered your own.

Grammarly tools to avoid:

  • tone changing tools - getting Grammarly to change the tone and style of your writing to "academic" or "formal" language, for example
  • any type of paraphrasing tools, including English fluency - remember, the work must be your writing, in your own voice
  • first draft generation - all drafts must be your own work
  • Grammarly generative AI tool - this can be used to evaluate your writing, or brainstorm ideas, but it must not be used for creating any content for your assignments

AI for research

Unfortunately, popular free generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Google Gemini are not reliable search engines. They work by making predictions based on data they have been trained on, rather than retrieving live information.

Do not use them for finding information, because you will have to fact-check everything, which is a lot of work.

However, there are reliable AI tools that can help with certain types of research projects, including literature and systematic reviews.

For internet searching, use Microsoft Copilot, but be sure to click on the citations so that you use information directly from the original source.

Below is a summary of AI research tools for academic research purposes. You can find out more by watching the videos on the right-hand side of the page.

  • Searches for academic literature
  • Learns from your selections to find relevant literature
  • Allows you build research collections
  • Notifies you of recent research on your topic/s
  • Provides interactive visualisations of topics and authors to expand or narrow your research
  • Is collaborative (you can share your collections with others)
  • Searches across multiple documents at once
  • Searches contextually rather than relying on being fed the right keywords
  • Makes suggestions for appropriate content based on selections made by the user
  • Is collaborative (you can share your collections with others)
  • Searches for academic literature
  • Uses semantic search, so will encompass relevant keywords without you having to input them
  • Summarizes research
  • Finds relevant literature through searching for meaning and not just relying on accurate keywords
  • Keeps refining results according to relevance that you determine
  • Limited free access: paid plan required after a period of use
Open Knowledge Maps
  • The visual maps provide an instant overview of a topic by showing the main areas at a glance, and documents related to each area.
  • Clusters similar documents together.
  • Labels research areas with relevant concepts.
  • Highlights open access content
  • Search engine that ranks academic literature based on relevance, quality and accuracy
  • Gives the consensus of the scientific community about your topic
  • Lists the papers used to provide the consensus and includes links to full text versions
  • Uses AI to search for clinical evidence
  • Use simple search terms, predefined medical specialties, or use your own custom PubMed query
  • Subscribe to a weekly e-alert. EvidenceHunt will run your search for you on a weekly basis so you get the most up to date clinical information
  • Extracts summaries and sample sizes
Semantic Scholar
  • Searches research papers across all fields of science
  • Papers can be saved and organised into a library, which Semantic Scholar learns from and make recommendations about other papers
  • Sends out notifications of new research


Check to see where Wintec | Te Pūkenga stands on inappropriate use.
If you appropriately use content created by GenAI, you will need to reference it. Learn how here.

Using AI responsibly

Adapted from Ethical use of AI Infographic by Palm Beach State College.

Made with the assistance of GenAI: Anthropic. (2024). Claude 3 haiku (March 4 version) [Large language model].

Privacy-protected AI

Awesome AI tools for research



Science Grad School Coach. (2022, November 1). How to Create a Literature Review Outline with Research Rabbit || Research Rabbit Tutorial [Video]. YouTube.



Lateral. (2021, May 28). Welcome to Lateral! [Video]. YouTube.



BU Cares (2023, January 28). How to use AI for research: for writing a literature review [Video]. YouTube.


Consensus. (2022, September 7). Consensus - Product Hunt Beta Launch Demo [Video]. YouTube.

Semantic Scholar

Semantic Scholar. (2022, March 16). Semantic Scholar: Product demo [Video]. YouTube.

Open Knowledge Maps

Gray Man Concepts. (2021, March 11). How to use Open Knowledge Maps (open source intelligence, OSINT tools) [Video]. YouTube.

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