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Library Resources for MSN Students: Using ChatGPT

This guide provides information on how best to utilize library resources throughout your MSN program at the College of Nursing.

What is AI, ChatGPT, and large-language modeling?

Artificial intelligence (AI), in the context of this guide, is the use of datasets to train computer models to emulate human thought processes (IBM, n.d.). It is the emulation itself that may convince information consumers of the supposed "intelligence" of a machine; the more convincing the emulation, the more users are prone to trust the generated information.

ChatGPT is a generative large language model which has gained popularity since late 2021. The name stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer. GPT models are programmed to mimic the look and feel of engaging in a realistic conversation with another human being; however, bias and inaccuracy remain a considerable risk (Kocoń, J., 2023).

Large language models (LLMs) are AI models that utilize networked datasets, emulating the neural pathways of the human brain, which assists in the appearance of actual cognition (Birhane et al., 2023).



Birhane, A., Kasirzadeh, A., Leslie, D., & Wachter, S. (2023). Science in the age of large language models. Nature Reviews Physics.

IBM. (n.d.). What is artificial intelligence (AI)? Retrieved 27 April 2023.

Kocoń, J., Cichecki, I., Kaszyca, O., Kochanek, M., Szydło, D., Baran, J., Bielaniewicz, J., Gruza, M., Janz, A., Kanclerz, K., Kocoń, A., Koptyra, B., Mieleszczenko-Kowszewicz, W., Miłkowski, P., Oleksy, M., Piasecki, M., Radliński, Ł., Wojtasik, K., Woźniak, S., & KAzienko, P. (2023). ChatGPT: Jack of all trades, master of none. Information Fusion, 99, 101861.


Read more here: Generative AI in the Classroom & Research

What can I use ChatGPT for?

First and most importantly: check with your instructor that using generative AI is allowed for your class! This information should be added in your course syllabus with language indicating whether and to what extent AI can be used on assignments. If you are not sure, ask your instructor first.

From my biased perspective (that of a librarian), here is a brief list of ways you could use ChatGPT (if allowed for your class). This list is not exhaustive of all ideas.

  • Keyword generation. Having trouble thinking of other ways to describe a concept? Ask ChatGPT to help!
  • Narrowing/broadening your topic. Not getting any results? Getting way too many results? Use ChatGPT to help you brainstorm ways you can adjust your research question so that you can find the most effective sources.
  • Setting the right tone. Want to create a patient education document in plain language but not quite sure how to translate the nursing jargon into easy-to-understand statements? ChatGPT can help you think of ways to ensure your tone matches your preferred audience.

What shouldn't I use ChatGPT for?

Because of bias and limitations from human contributions, it is imperative to approach generative AI with caution.

If your instructor has approved the use of ChatGPT or other generative AI in the class, below is a brief list of ways you should NOT use it. Again, this list is not exhaustive.

  • Writing your assignments. This may be considered a form of plagiarism as the generated language is not your own original writing. If you use ChatGPT in this way without credit, you may be found in violation of the University's Academic Integrity policies. If you aren't sure, check with your instructor.
  • Searching for sources. Do not use ChatGPT in lieu of conducting a literature search through the library resources. ChatGPT has a bad habit of "hallucinating" results; in other words, it will generate answers that sound right but that are not actual sources that exist. ChatGPT is not a search engine or a database.
  • Creating accurate citations. ChatGPT is about as good as any other citation generator out there, which is to say that it is hit or miss. ChatGPT may leave off required elements of a citation, invent elements (for instance, generating incorrect DOIs or URLs), and fail to follow citation style formatting requirements. If you use ChatGPT for citation generation, be sure to double- and triple-check every citation thoroughly before submitting your assignment.

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Should I cite ChatGPT?

Citing ChatGPT and other generative AI will allow your work to remain transparent while also demonstrating ethical considerations. If generative AI is used in research, best practice would dictate to mention the use of this tool in the narrative.

Suggestions for citations may be found below: