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Research Process

Introduction AI for Research

Using AI like Chat GPT for Research

AI tools can be used for research purposes. However, the use of AI tools should be in line with the IB Academic Integrity Policy (see page 53-56).  Essentially, the use of any such software needs to be clearly and transparently communicated. This means that students should give credit to AI by showing when and how it was used, the most common way of doing this is by citing, paraphrasing, and quoting.

The following page has information on using AI for research. If students have additional questions about how best to use AI they are encouraged to reach out to their teachers and/or the Librarian for support.




Using AI with Integrity

To act with integrity is to make fair and honest choices because it is the right thing to do (not because you could get caught).

How we use AI in education has a lot to do with integrity. Always stop and think: is this helping me do my work, or is this doing my work for me? Am I showing where this information came from, or am I misrepresenting this information as being something I thought of and wrote myself? Try always to show integrity in your work.



Is AI like Chat GPT a Reliable Research Source?

Chat GPT is a language model that generates text from searching patterns in data, it is not a thinking brain. As a result, generative AI like Chat GPT has been known to produce incorrect information, show bias, and even to make things up entirely. Indeed, the Chat GPT website states: "GPT-4 still has many known limitations that we are working to address, such as social biases, hallucinations, and adversarial prompts" ("GPT-4 is Open AI’s most advanced system"). Finally, AI like Chat GPT is only as up-to-date as the data it is allowed to work with, therefore searches may miss out on new data and new research if they rely only on this tool.

As a consequence it is not on its own a reliable research source. Students who use AI for research are expected to verify (check and confirm) the accuracy of any information they get from an AI generator like Chat GPT. They should do this by checking a wide range of sources.



How safe is your data? What not to share with Chat GPT

Staff and students should be aware that when they use Chat GPT they are giving its company, Open AI, access to their personal data both from their registration information and from the choice of content they put in to search. Students and staff are therefore advised not to share confidential information when making their searches.



So how can I use AI tools like Chat GPT in my Research?

The IB Academic Integrity Policy says that "Students should be encouraged to ask the software research questions rather than the essay title, and then explore the sources it provides—ensuring they also explore the inherent bias of the results" (54). So, you should not ask AI to answer your assignment question for you. However, you can use AI to help you find the resources and basic understanding needed to answer the question yourself.


The most recommended way of doing this is to use AI as a tool for locating helpful research sources. Here are examples: 

Best Practice: Using Chat GPT to signpost helpful research sources
"Where can I find data about..."
"List three highly cited open access articles on …"
"Who is an authority in the field of..."
"Name some well-known books on the topic of..."
"What reliable websites have statistics about..."

Searching AI for basic definitions and background knowledge before starting serious research should also be fine so long as students understand the unreliability of AI as a source and go on to verify the information by checking a range of sources. Above all things, the most important thing is to show transparency, so if the student ends up using information or definitions taken from AI like Chat GPT they should give credit by paraphrasing, quoting and citing, just as they should do for any other source.



Example of a Search Using Chat GPT

Design Extended Essay Research Question: How have ergonomic factors been considered in the design of a drinking container for a pre-school child? 
a) Chat GPT Prompt: What is ergonomic design?
b) Chat GPT Prompt: What popular manufacturers sell ergonomic cups for children?
c) Chat GPT Prompt: Where can I find data on the most popular cups for preschoolers?

a) Students should double check definitions and verify the accuracy of information given by checking multiple sources. If the student chooses to use the information (i.e. the definition) in their research assignment they should cite the source in-text and in the works cited list, just as they would cite any other source.

The in-text citation for this source would be: ("What is ergonomic design?")

The works cited list entry for this source would be: “What is ergonomic design?” prompt. Chat GPT, 13 Feb. version, Open AI, 8 Mar. 2023, 

b) Chat GPT is being used to signpost companies the student can then go on to investigate independently.

c) Chat GPT is being used to signpost helpful data BUT the student should understand that information on Chat GPT is not up to date (it currently includes data up to 2021) and only use this information as a starting point.


*Please do not search the essay question itself.* 



What if I want to use Chat GPT in other ways?

Students are recommended to seek support from their subject teachers and /or the Librarian. There is guidance on the ethical use of AI and technology on the library website and there is additional information in the IB Academic Integrity Policy (pages 53-56).  The most important thing is to show transparency about all use of AI by including explanatory information and appropriate citation. So if a student used AI for some other part of their planning/ research process it would be expected that they transparently record this in their references by stating what they did and including the prompt that they entered. Again, students are advised to seek support from an appropriate member of faculty before using AI in this manner.



How do I cite Generative AI like Chat GPT?

The IB need students to be aware that any work produced by such tools, even in part, will not be considered their own.  So just as with any other words or works taken from another source, students must give credit in-text and in their works cited list.


Works Cited

“Title of Source” prompt. Title of Container, Version, Publisher, Date of Content Generation, URL/Link.


“Which countries colonized Africa?” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023,

In-text citation

("Title of Source - Can be Abbreviated")


("Which countries")