Skip to Main Content

Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Academia: Home

This quick guide will review ethical ways to utilize generative AI in an academic context.

Library Skills Videos

Who Do I Ask For Help?

Paul Graham, University Librarian

Email Paul Graham (AST)

Subject Liaison: Creative Arts, Education, Psychology

Kathy Coorsh, Academic Librarian

Email Kathy Coorsh (EST)

Subject Liaison: Business, Interior Design/Decorating & General Studies

Nell Beaudry, Academic Librarian

Email Nell Beaudry (PST)

Subject Liaison: Business, Library Instruction, Information Literacy, Psychology

Melissa Discola, Library Technician

Email Melissa Discola (EST)

Subject Liaison: Textbook Management & Administration

Sarah Van Sickle, Academic Librarian

Email Sarah Van Sickle (EST)

Subject Liaison: Resource Management, Business, Interior Design/Decorating, Creative Arts

What is Generative AI

What is Generative AI?


Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a category of technology that can produce new content, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos. Recent breakthroughs in the field, including the public release of ChatGPT in November 2022, are already radically changing the way individuals and organizations approach content creation. Awesome Generative AI provides an extensive list of generative AI technologies, categorized by type, including text, code, image, video, and audio generators. You are encouraged to check the privacy policies and terms of use for any generative AI tools before applying them. 

There are several AI technologies currently garnering significant attention in higher education, such as  OpenAI’s ChatGPTDALL·E 2, and Whisper. (YU's AI Guidelines)

How to use Generative AI Ethically

How to use Artificial Intelligence Ethically in an Academic Context

While it is explicitly unethical to have generative AI write your assignments and claim it as your own work, there are ethical ways to use generative AI as a tool to support you. These include developing keyword lists for searching library databases, studying, and brainstorming arguments to support your thesis statement.

Using AI to Generate Search Terms
  1. Use phrasing like “Please generate keywords for an academic search on ‘Business ethics and social responsibility’
  2. We can then bring these keywords into the library database and start with a general keyword search using the keywords that seem MOST promising - you still need to do the work of assessing if the keywords are appropriate for your assignment’s topic and determine how best to fit them into your query, but using ChatGPT in this way helps with language acquisition for your field

Brainstorm outline
  1. Using ChatGPT to help you brainstorm arguments can be helpful for synthesizing information you may have already considered. ChatGPT is NOT thinking for you, just helping you think about how you might argue for the validity of your thesis statement
  2. “Please help me think of arguments for social responsibility and business ethics for an academic assignment”
  3. You can then turn some of these arguments into further, narrower keywords to use alongside the broader keywords suggested in your database queries

AI and Academic Integrity

AI and Academic Misconduct

Assessments help you to consolidate your understanding, and demonstrate the skills needed to perform in professional roles after graduation. To successfully complete a program, you must independently demonstrate achievement of course and program learning outcomes.

While AI tools may be used to explore disciplines, spark ideas, and support studying, you should always acknowledge and document the use of generative AI in any coursework (see How to Cite AI). Assignments and tests may have explicit requirements or restrictions on the use of generated AI material. By submitting coursework, you assert that you have respected these requirements. Submitting and representing AI generated material as your own work is considered an academic offense as outlined in section 5.6.2 of the academic calendar:

[…] all forms of cheating and academic fraud and misrepresentation, not only those listed here, will be dealt with according to the policy and procedures outlined below. (YU AI Guidelines)

Rate this Guide

Was this Guide Helpful?
Yes: 4 votes (50%)
No: 1 votes (12.5%)
Unsure: 3 votes (37.5%)
Total Votes: 8

Additional Related Guides

Relevant External Sources

Citing AI

How to Cite AI?

If you use AI to support your assignment, you need to cite it! You can find the guidelines from the American Psychology Association's 7th edition on how and when to cite AI here