Skip to Main Content

.Renewable Energy Engineering

AI Tools for Search

Using AI tools without written permission from your instructor can result in a charge of academic dishonesty. Always check your course syllabus for AI policies and obtain permission from your instructor before using an AI tool for a course assignment. 

Using Generative AI Tools for Searching

Large Language Models (LLMS) such as ChatGPT are only as smart and current as the datasets they are trained on. However, when combined with the power to search the web or search databases of scholarly articles, they can bring in outside knowledge to help you find what you need.  This is called "retrieval augmented" AI. 

A diagram of the retrieval augmented model showing how an LLM generator can include a step like searching the web before generating an answer.

Image by Aaron Tay, licensed CC-BY-NC. 

It's best to treat even retrieval-augmented AI tools as starting points that provide answers that must still be checked carefully. Research found only 65% of generated answers are fully supported by the citations, and only 78% of citations really support their associated sentences.

Additionally, like many algorithms, AI tools can reflect bias in their responses, so their responses need to be viewed with a critical eye.

Source of statistic: Zheng, Huang & Chen-Chuan Chang, 2023, as discussed by librarian Aaron Tay on his blog

Generative AI Tools for Search

Other AI Tools