Five Things to Avoid When Using AI for Writing
(Last updated: 13 November 2023)
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In a previous blog post, we suggested that AI can be used to support and supplement your academic writing. However, even though AI can be used as a useful tool, this does not mean all AI use is beneficial and without consequences. Read on to find out what you need to avoid when using AI to reduce the chances of academic integrity issues and potential penalties.
1. Avoid copying AI-generated text
When asked, AI can produce whole paragraphs or even your whole essay. Although this may seem like a convenient solution, copying AI-generated text can get you into trouble. AI possesses a distinctive writing style that often comes across as sophisticated, making it easier for your professors to detect AI use and penalise you for it.
2. Avoid incorporating AI-generated bullet point lists
AI may generate informative bullet point lists in response to your queries, which can help in writing your essay. However, it is important to avoid directly incorporating these bullet points into your essay. Including bullet points may serve as an indicator of AI use. Essays should always be written in paragraph form, using your own words and analytical skills.
3. Avoid using AI-generated text without content improvement
Even if you decide to use AI-generated text in an acceptable manner, such as through paraphrasing rather than direct copying, there are still crucial things to avoid. As AI produces overly general text that lacks depth, you should avoid using it without improving the generated content. To demonstrate the applicability of your arguments, you need to enhance the AI-generated content with your own insights and analysis.
4. Avoid AI’s American English
AI-generated text is always in American English. If you need your essay in British English, you should avoid directly copying the text generated by AI. If you’ve always written in British English, suddenly switching to American English might raise suspicions among your professors and lead them to think you have used AI.
5. Avoid AI’s short paragraphs
Apart from bullet point lists, superficial content, and American English, another landmark of AI-generated text is a pattern of short paragraphs. When your essay is evaluated by professors, a series of short paragraphs could signal AI use. Therefore, when using AI to generate content for your essay, it is advisable to refrain from including too many short paragraphs to avoid suspicion from your professors.
A key message
The main takeaway from this blog is that not all AI use is beneficial or legitimate. If you copy AI-generated text, you will likely produce an essay that includes bullet point lists, lacks depth and specificity, is written in American rather than British English, and is structured in a series of short paragraphs. These are all clear signs of AI use, which could result in your essay being identified as AI-generated and subject to potential penalties.