Five Tips for Using AI to Aid Your Writing

AI, Writing

23rd October 2023

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AI’s misuse has led universities to intensify their efforts to discourage academic dishonesty. You’ve likely been repeatedly cautioned that AI use can negatively impact your educational journey. However, the fact that AI can be misused does not mean it should not be used at all. Like all new technologies, AI can be adopted in a way that supports rather than substitutes your writing. Here are five tips for using AI to aid your writing without engaging in dishonest practices.

1. Use AI as a smarter Google

In essence, AI is like a smarter Google that responds to your questions without you having to “google” your way to an answer. This aspect of AI is useful for understanding the material for your thesis. If wondering who developed a particular theory, how to define a particular construct, or when a particular event occurred, just ask AI. The answer will be straightforward.

2. Use AI to find academic terms

How often it happens that you cannot find an appropriate term while writing? For example, you type a sentence saying “Viewers freaked out when confronted with the unexpected turn of events”, but the academic term for “freaked out” eludes you. This is another obstacle that AI can solve quickly. You can simply instruct AI to give you five alternatives for the term “freaked out” in your sentence and choose from the provided options.

3. Use AI to finish a sentence

Another obstacle while writing is when you simply get stuck, such as when you write the first part of a sentence and lose grasp of its conclusion. This often happens with the last sentences in paragraphs. AI can be used as a great aid here. A useful tip is to ask: “Can you finish this sentence using one sentence?” and then paste your whole paragraph into the AI chat. Remember to check whether the generated end of the sentence actually makes sense in the context of your paragraph. If not, you can ask AI to produce alternatives and some of them will do the job.

4. Use AI to paraphrase

Another benefit of AI is that it is very skilled in paraphrasing. When re-reading your paper, you might notice that some sentences sound very odd, yet you may find it challenging to correct them. To solve this, you can ask AI to paraphrase your sentence. This practice will be useful in the long run as AI will teach you to phrase your sentences and communicate your thoughts better.

5. Use AI to re-format references

The final advantage of AI is that it can complete tediously long tasks in seconds. Imagine the frustration felt upon realising you have formatted your references in Vancouver while you actually needed Harvard referencing. The frustration would be justified because the task would take an extra thirty minutes at the very least. However, AI can accomplish the reformatting in mere seconds, sparing you both stress and time.

A key message

In summary, AI can benefit your writing without making you a cheater. If used correctly, it can help you refine your skills and produce more polished work while managing to maintain your academic integrity. Not all AI use is useful and non-penalised, however. That’s why our next post will explore five things to avoid when using AI to aid your writing.