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Referencing Guide: AI: Guidance and Support for Students


Two particularly challenging aspects that often leave students perplexed are the incorporation of other people's ideas and the decision of whether to integrate Artificial Intelligence into their work. In this guide, we aim to shed light on these aspects and provide you with valuable insights to navigate them effectively.

Remember, when in doubt, seeking guidance is always a prudent choice. Your lecturers and the assessment team are valuable resources. Don't hesitate to reach out to them if you have questions or concerns about incorporating external sources or using AI in your assignments. They can provide specific guidance tailored to your course's requirements. 

Some key definitions to be aware of in the area of AI: 

Artificial Intelligence The development of computer systems that lead to performing a task or tasks normally undertaken by human intelligence. 
Copy Editing Copy editors are paid to review narrative produced by writers and to correct all errors, i.e. grammar, punctuation and spelling. The use of copy editing is prohibited at the University of Law. 
Generative AI The development of artificial intelligence systems capable of producing/generating text, images, subject matter, speech etc. in response to a human input query. Examples include: ChatGPT, Google Bard, DALL-E. 
Proofreading Proofreading is checking your own work for all types of errors, whether that's technical errors such as formatting or spelling, or sense errors such as using the incorrect word, before submitting it. 
Supportive Editing Tools Software that identifies grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. Examples are: Grammarly, MS Office Proofreading

Using Other People's Ideas - Do's and Don'ts


  • Always acknowledge the source of someone else's ideas. Provide proper references and attribute the original author. This includes both written (journal articles) and spoken (podcasts) materials. For further information on how to reference correctly, see the Library Services referencing guide
  • Use the appropriate referencing system for your course i.e. OSCOLA, Harvard or APA. Check with your tutors and assessment guidance on which referencing system is most appropriate/required
  • Ensure you check the original work to ensure that secondary sources are referencing ideas appropriately and that arguments are not distorted or misrepresented 
  • Use a range of sources to ensure that your argument is well evidenced and ensure that you generate a good analysis of current thinking


  • Copy someone else's work without properly referencing the idea or attributing it to the original creator. Plagiarism is a serious ethical and academic violation and can result in serious consequences, including in relation to the outcome of your degree
  • Mispresent or distort someone else's writings or research to fit your own argument. Maintain the original context and meaning of their ideas
  • Assume you will get away with plagiarism. The university employs multiple detection systems, including TurnItIn, which trawls through millions of documents to find instances of plagiarism 
  • Make up references if you can't find relevant information. If you are unsure, consult the Library and Study Skills team, who can support you in regards to referencing 

For more detailed information and how to reference, acknowledge ideas appropriately, use the following links:

  1. Library Services Referencing Guide - information on a range of referencing systems
  2. Workshop Calendar - live sessions that often focus on referencing systems and academic writing
  3. Study Skills Referencing Information - page contains useful information on referencing

Using Artifical Intelligence - Do's and Don'ts


  • Use AI to assist you in understanding knowledge about a subject
  • Make yourself aware of the AI policy, which can be accessed on the ULaw website: Policy
  • Develop critical thinking skills through 'follow-up' questions and cross reference with reliable sources
  • Adopt AI to summarise or bullet point lists of information when preparing for exams/assessments. You still need to check the output for reliability 
  • Adopt AI software, such as Grammarly to guide your language and writing skills
  • Check if and to what extent the use of AI is permissible in your assessment 


  • Submit any AI generated content as your own work
  • Rely solely on AI for information
  • Rely on AI for language correction or accurate expression
  • Become over-dependent on AI causing you to mis-manage your time
  • Use copyediting services with your assessment work
  • Rely on AI to find and reference appropriate sources of information (i.e. other peoples ideas)

Additional Resources

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