Skip to Main Content

Artificial Intelligence:
Guidelines for Using ChatGPT and Other AI Tools in Writing and Research

Print Page Report a broken link

Walden’s Statement on the Use of AI-Assisted Writing Tools

Artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted writing tools, such as ChatGPT, provide new opportunities for learning and assessment in higher education. Using AI tools responsibly for academic purposes and in the classroom is an emerging competency for both students and faculty. Walden is developing guidance that encourages the use of AI-assisted writing tools to supplement learning in the classroom, stimulate thinking, and help students brainstorm different ways to articulate thoughts when writing.

While we continue to understand and evaluate the evolving use of AI-assisted writing tools, students are expected to use them responsibly by providing citation when using whole sentences or paragraphs written by an AI-assisted writing tool, just as if using direct content from any other source. Additionally, students should include any AI input/output transcripts generated in their reference list/appendix for review. As we work together to use these new innovative tools ethically and responsibly, setting our course for change does come with some challenges, particularly with the detection tools. Turnitin now provides instructors with an AI Indicator and AI Report, which functions much like the Originality Report that is used to identify plagiarism. While this new feature is being tested and refined, faculty may use the report to navigate teachable moments with students; however, it will not be used to penalize at this time. 

Because of the rapid and ongoing changes in the AI landscape, this guidance page will be updated on a regular basis. We suggest you bookmark this page.

Responsible Use

Learning to use AI-assisted writing tools responsibly and ethically is an important skill. As you develop your AI literacy, please be mindful of some of the known limitations of these tools:

Incomplete or inaccurate information

Some AI-assisted writing tools are trained on content from September 2021 and prior. Therefore, content may be outdated or incomplete. It is also recommended to fact check content to ensure its accuracy, especially if the content will be directly cited or used to inform further analysis in your scholarly work. Use your best judgment on how, if, and when to use these tools.

Bias and lack of diversity

There is bias and lack of diversity in training data. Because AI-assisted writing is machine generated, the system will learn and reproduce any biases that may be inherent in the content it was trained from. As such, content may assert biased information as factual. Similarly, if the training data lacked diversity, the output may favor dominant voices. This is one of the key ethical concerns with AI- assisted writing tools to be keenly aware of.

Output is only as good as input

What you get out is only as good as what you put in. The quality of the outputs you receive from an AI-assisted writing tool depends on the prompt given. It will take time to learn and refine how to best provide prompts to get quality outputs. Try different ways of asking the same question to see how the outputs may vary.

Not a substitute for critical thinking

As scholars, our contribution in the classroom requires critical thinking, synthesis, and analysis. AI-assisted writing tools do not provide this type of thinking because they are not human.

Not a substitute for reading

Not a substitute for reading an article, book, etc. References to course materials should only be cited if you have read the actual source material.

Include AI Interactions in Appendix

In addition to citing the use of AI Assisted Writing tools for any ideas or writing that is not original to you, Walden also requires that any interaction with an AI tool in the development of your work product be included in full in an appendix.

On April 7, 2023, the American Psychological Association (APA) issued guidance on how to cite ChatGPT. Walden has adopted this method of citation.

Use of direct citation of an output from an AI-assisted writing tool should be uncommon. AI Assisted writing tools, like ChatGPT, are not scholarly sources. Think of this similar to how you think of Wikipedia, which is also not a scholarly source and therefore citation from Wikipedia is not encouraged. But, if you have a reason to cite, please follow the APA guidelines below.

APA provides the following guidance for citing an AI-Assisted Writing tool:

Author. (Date). Title (Version) [Description]. Source


OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (May 24 version) [Large language model].

Ways to Use AI-assisted Writing Tools

Here are some responsible ways to use AI-assisted writing tools:

  • Draft an outline to clarify your thoughts
  • Iterate on research questions or to find other research questions related to your topic
  • Brainstorm other topics or questions related to your prompt
  • Find an expression or different way to articulate an original thought
  • Help with sentence structure or content organization
  • Better understand complex or difficult concepts

Misuse of AI Assisted Writing Tools

  • Copying outputs and submitting as your own original work
  • Submitting references and citations that are not real
  • Using these tools as a scholarly source – they are not!
  • Using these tools in lieu of your assigned classroom resources