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Generative AI in your research

Can I use generative AI tools in my graduate research?

Please note that the information throughout this guide is relevant to all La Trobe students, at all levels.

For Graduate Researchers (PhD and Masters by Research students), here's what to consider if you are thinking about using digital assistance tools such as Chat GPT in your research.

It is essential that Graduate Researchers consult with their supervisors before deciding to go ahead with using digital assistance tools, and they should be guided by discipline expectations on how or when to use digital assistance tools.

There are a number of things to be considered before using digital assistance tools:

  • Intellectual property – for example, what happens to the data you input into Chat GPT
  • Accuracy is not guaranteed – you will need to check everything, including bibliographic details, obtained with the help of any digital assistance tools
  • Transparency – If using digital assistance tools for any part of your research, this should be openly acknowledged.  If using AI as a component of your research method, this should be explicitly acknowledged in your documentation
  • Appropriateness – digital assistance tools have caused disruptions in research, and discipline responses and expectations are still in flux, so what might be considered appropriate in one area may not be in another
  • Research Integrity – be aware and informed about La Trobe's Research Integrity policy

A useful discussion about how AI operates and its potential uses and limitations is available in the article 'Three ways to leverage ChatGPT and other generative AI in research' by Daswin De Silva, Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition, La Trobe University and Mona El- Ayoubi, Education Services, La Trobe University. 
La Trobe staff and graduate researchers can access a more detailed advisory paper here.

The AI environment is constantly changing, and it's not possible to provide a comprehensive set of guidelines for using AI in research as the requirements and regulations will differ between discipline areas.  The use of AI tools should be undertaken only after careful consideration and discussion.  For further guidance in using AI tools, please consult your supervisor.