Guidelines for use of AI-tools in the work on master theses

Guidelines for use of AI-tools in the work on master theses

These guidelines apply to all master's theses at NHH from (and including) the spring semester 2024 and are intended to provide help and support in how tools based on generative AI can be used safely and effectively in the work on the master's thesis.

  • Introduction and delimination

    Introduction and delimination

    By generative AI we mean systems based on "Large language models" that can be used to generate text, images, data, graphics, code, etc. "Ordinary" software that uses AI e.g. for proofreading, grammar checks, translations, etc. is generally not included in this definition. But there are obviously grey areas, and the dividing lines are becoming less clear as AI-based aids are increasingly included in standard software.  It is therefore not possible to draw a clear distinction between what is covered and what is not covered by these guidelines. However, the main principle that the user (student) is responsible for all content of the master's thesis will nevertheless apply to all variants of such aids.

    NHH offers access to Sikt KI-chat, which is provided by SIKT – Norwegian Agency for Shared Services in Education and ResearchSikt KI-chat is considered a "secure" chatbot, in that privacy considerations are safeguarded, and that data is not shared with others. If AI-based tools are to be used as a help in working with the thesis, it is recommended to use this one[1]. Further information about Sikt KI-chat and security issues related to the use of such tools more generally can be found on NHH Servicedesk.

    [1] Please note that information about Sikt KI-chat is so far only given in Norwegian. However, once you log onto the chatbot, all information is in English.

  • Guidelines for students

    Guidelines for students

    When working on your master's thesis, you must pay special attention to the following guidelines:

    1. Basic rule – students are responsible for everything included in the thesis. 
      You are responsible for everything included in the master's thesis; this applies to text, data, graphics, illustrations, code, analyses, etc. AI-generated text should not be used directly, and if AI tools are used in the work on the thesis, you are still responsible for all submitted material.
    2. AI as a tool – permitted use of AI-based aids in the work on the master's thesis.
      AI tools can be helpful in various parts of the work on the master's thesis, such as generating ideas, structuring content, organising data, etc. It is permissible to use such tools as an aid in the work, but it must be emphasized that this is only an aid – you are responsible for assessing how tools and results can be used in a responsible and good way, and for ensuring a sufficient degree of critical reflection in all phases of the work.
    3. Ethics and privacy.
      Use of AI tools must always be done in an ethical manner and in accordance with research ethics guidelines. Confidential information and personal data should never be shared with AI tools. This applies to both own information and personal data collected in connection with the work on the master's thesis. See NHH Servicedesk for an overview of various types of personal data and use of AI tools. Note that even for Sikt KI-chat, which is considered a "secure" chatbot, there are clear limitations on what information should be shared.
    4. Limitations and risks of relying on AI-generated content.
      Generative AI may provide incorrect or false information, contain text from sources that cannot be included without reference, and which may thereby lead to plagiarism, and/or provide unbalanced, non-academic, or incomplete analyses. It is always the user who is responsible for ensuring that everything that is written is correct and in accordance with norms of research ethics. Pay particular attention to the risk of including text that comes from other sources and which would thereby be considered plagiarism without proper source references.
    5. Statement and references using AI tools.
      If AI tools are used in the work on the thesis, this must be clearly stated in the thesis. Such information shall consist of two parts:
      1. A statement on the use of AI tools when working on the thesis. This should be placed in conjunction with the reference list (see the templates for master theses) and have the following content:

    AI tools that have been used in the work on this master's thesis:

    Name (and version) of the AI tool: e.g. ChatGPT, 3.5 (or 4.0). (Write “None” if you have not used any AI-tools.)

    The purpose of the use of the tool: e.g. used to organize data, data analysis, idea generation, etc.

    If multiple tools have been used, they should all be listed in the same way. (If you are in doubt about which tools to include, it is better to include too much rather than too little.) 

    The list is followed by this text: 

    [I am/we are] aware that [I am/we are] responsible for all content of this master's thesis, including the parts where AI tools are used.  [I am/we are] responsible for ensuring that the thesis complies with ethical rules for privacy and publication.

    1. Referencing when using AI-generated content (but note the limitations given in section 1 above).  Several referencing styles have now included templates for referencing AI-generated content. The Library provides recommendations regarding how to refer to AI-generated content when using the APA reference style, see here for details. In short, referencing should be as follows:


    In the text

    In the reference list


    (Company, year)

    Company (year). Title of software (version) [Explanation], link.


    (Sikt, 2023)

    Sikt (2023). Sikt KI-chat (version GPT-4) [Large language model],

    1. The role and responsibilities of the supervisor.
       The supervisor can be a good help for the students in assessing permitted and good use of AI-based tools, and it is strongly recommended to discuss such questions with your supervisor. However, it is the students' responsibility to follow these guidelines; the supervisor can give advice but cannot take responsibility for compliance with the guidelines.  
  • Concluding Remarks

    Concluding Remarks

    Remember that the master's thesis should first and foremost be an opportunity to apply the insight and knowledge you have acquired during your studies to a specific research question. AI tools, used wisely and responsibly in line with these guidelines, can at best be helpful in this endeavour, but it can never replace your own knowledge and insight. It is precisely the ability to apply this knowledge that you should demonstrate through your master's thesis and that you will be assessed on.