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Making the most of Generative AI

Academic Writing

  • High quality academic writing is a central part of being successful at university.
  • Generative AI is most effective when used at the start of the writing process - suggesting a structure for you to follow and for generating initial ideas that you can explore further through academic reading and research.
  • Generative AI lacks the context of the teaching on your course - you should also review your lecture and seminar notes for ideas of topics and perspectives to incorporate into your academic writing.

Limitations for academic writing

There are a number of limitations when using generative AI for planning and writing your assignments, including:

Lack of context

Essays are designed to test your understanding and critical thinking on the content you’ve covered in class. Generative AI tends to generate generic, ‘best fit’ answers and won't include the real-world examples that enhance essay writing and make your writing unique.

No marking criteria

It is crucial that your writing answers the task ;that has been set, rather than providing generic information and content on your subject area. Your essays are marked according to the criteria set by your lecturers, which AI tools do not take into account when generating content.

Plagiarised content

Generative AI does not practice academic integrity - they draw on a range of existing online sources to create content, including essay mill websites. These websites are not permitted for use in academic writing and will be detected by Turnitin software as a form of plagiarism. It is for this reason that we recommend you do not copy and paste large chunks of academic writing straight from the AI tool.

Remember, although assignments can feel daunting, they are also a fantastic opportunity for you to explore a topic in more detail and develop your argument and knowledge of your subject area. AI can support this work but it is important that your experience, knowledge and perspective shine through your writing.

Adsetts Library
Collegiate Library

Sheffield Hallam University
City Campus, Howard Street
Sheffield S1 1WB