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AI: How do I get the best results from AI?

An overview of artificial intelligence tools and processes as they relate to research and learning

Ask the right questions

Be specific - the more precise and concise the question you ask, the more likely it is that the AI tool will produce a useful answer. For example, instead of asking "what is an academic play?", you could ask "give an example of a German academic play from the 16th Century"

Train the AI - by asking follow-up questions. Large language model AI tools 'learn' by getting feedback and additional data which help them to improve their responses. Let the AI know therefore if the first answer you get isn't right

Protect your data - don't ask a question which contains personal or otherwise confidential information, as the privacy and security of AI tools are unclear

Get inspiration

AI can be a useful source of inspiration for the work you're doing. For example, it can give ideas for the methodology you could use for research, or the structure of an essay. It could give you an outline overview of a topic that's new to you, in language that's easy to understand.

It is not so useful however at helping you with work which requires reflection or original critical thinking - AI cannot replace your experience and ability to apply theory into personal practice.

Check with your School/Department for guidance on appropriate use of AI to help with assessments.

Check before you use

The responses you get from AI tools are not always accurate! Although they use an enormous quantity of data, the quality is sometimes lacking and can be out of date, biased or simply wrong. Their access to academic sources of information is limited, and they will make up a plausible-sounding reference or quote if they can't find a real one. For example, you can ask ChatGPT to create an interview with a celebrity which sounds like something that person might say but is entirely fabricated. Always verify anything produced by an AI tool before referring to it in your work.

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