10 Great AI Tools You Can Use to Speed Up and Assist Your Research and Paper Writing

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: January 12, 2024, Reading time: 16 minutes

AI Tools You Can Use to Speed Up and Assist Your Research and Paper Writing - featured image

College students write, on average, between 10 and 15 essays every semester, with English and writing courses requiring the most intensive writing assignments. Most college majors also write either an intensive senior thesis or a capstone project as a culminating requirement, and the college majors with the most writing assignments include English and English literature, communications, and journalism.  

The bottom line is that college students must possess effective and efficient writing skills! But with co-curricular and extracurricular activities also vying for attention, writing with alacrity and quality can be a challenge.

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Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) tools are available that can facilitate both the pre-writing research process and the actual writing process itself! These AI tools facilitate data gathering, organization, and analysis, provide outlines for research papers and other academic writing assignments, and minimize errors in grammar, spelling and sentence construction, among other features.

Indeed, these AI tools have revolutionized the way college students – and graduate and postgraduate students, researchers and scientists, for that matter – approach their writing-related work. 

However, caution and adherence to ethical standards must be exercised when using AI tools for academic writing! While there are benefits, AI tools have their significant limitations, too. For one thing, AI tools cannot replace your writing and research skills because these are tools – nothing more but tools in facilitating your research and writing work.

If you have a heavy reliance on AI tools, you can become unmotivated in writing original work, become less skilled in writing, or lose your unique voice (i.e., AI tools have a repetitive quality) 

For another thing, AI tools can be unreliable in their facts about people, places and events, their citations provided, and even in their recommendations for words, grammar and context. You must always verify the information, including the citations and attributions generated by AI tools (i.e., cross-checking facts from reliable sources).

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Launched by Google in 2004, Google Scholar is a staple among students, researchers and academics who want reliable scholarly sources from a wide range of materials. The free web search engine indexes books, academic theses, articles, conference papers, court papers, and patents, among other materials, from diverse disciplines. Students can also access their universities’ library databases for resources and materials and, thus, facilitate the research process. 

Google users assert that Google Scholar’s search functions are similar to its parent’s user-friendly design. Just type the keywords or keyphrases into a homepage field, refine the search by author name, publication name and date, and click on the relevant links. The metrics section contains the diverse category rankings, from humanities, literature and arts to health and medical sciences, and provides more specific search results in different languages (e.g., English, Chinese, and French). 

Students agree that access to multidisciplinary materials makes Google Scholar a useful AI tool for writing assignments in both their general education and concentration courses. Keep in mind, however, that access to the full text of the resources and materials isn’t guaranteed, but Google Scholar can provide active links to the complete document. Note that the full-text versions may or may not be free, but viable alternatives are provided. 

As with many AI tools, Google Scholar’s search results can include low-quality publications, meaning information verification must still be made. There’s also the risk of underrepresentation of foreign language publications – but it won’t be an issue if your works focus on English-language publications – and incomplete citations. Google Scholar also doesn’t have extensive advanced search options, meaning it’s best to use it along with other AI tools.

Scite uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence in Smart Citations generation, meaning it can determine the way citations are used (e.g., neutral, supporting, or contrasting). In this manner, students can evaluate the credibility and reliability of scholarly articles, research papers, and other academic materials through analysis of their citations received. The Smart Citations database consists of extensive collections of files from the likes of University Press, Cambridge and Wiley, as well as scientific preprint sources like bioRxiv, asXiv, and medRxiv. 

Students can use Scite to understand the broader context of scholarly articles, research papers, and other academic materials for which citations have been made. This is possible since Scite can determine whether specific citations provide evidence for (i.e., supporting) or against (i.e., contrasting) a specific claim or if these only mention it (i.e., neutral). 

When you use Scite properly, you can spend less time on the literature review and critical analysis aspects of the research process. These include critically engaging with the literature, reading the cited references, understanding their context, and finding relevant and reliable literature related to your topic. 

You will also be able to quickly identify and clearly explain the gaps in current literature that your research paper will address. You can also discuss the debates about the contrasting findings and the current state of the field. Your research paper may also discuss the ways that research on your particular topic can be improved.

Scite’s useful features include a reference check, advanced search and custom board. There’s even a browser extension and a Zotero plugin. Check out Scite’s Assistant language model, too, a chatbot with useful features for students and researchers alike.



The beauty of using AI tools is in the effective and efficient automation of many of the aspects of the research process! This is true of Scholarcy, a popular AI tool among students, researchers and academics, because it automates the reading, summarizing and extracting aspects of information gathering. The AI-powered tool saves time, energy and effort on the part of its users, particularly when providing summaries of large files or documents quickly. 

The AI tool also makes quick assessments and evaluations of the importance of documents, whether these are entire reports, articles, research papers or specific chapters in a book. Summary flashcards containing organized, structured and concise summaries transform extensive data into an easily digestible format.

The AI tool also recognizes tables and figures from the materials being analyzed. You will then have a better understanding of the main concepts, ideas or information in the materials or a better appreciation of the context of the information. 

The citation extraction features allow for reliable identification and organization of the key references and sources used in the materials being analyzed. You can save time in creating the citations and bibliographies for your research paper and other academic papers using Scholarcy. There’s also an automation feature for the literature review process, meaning more time can be spent on writing your academic paper. 

Scholarly is also compatible with many of the commonly used document formats used in academic research. Again, the ease of organizing, analyzing and using your summaries is part of its popular appeal. 

But Scholarcy also has its issues, such as concerns about its accuracy, its limited scope, and its security and privacy, as well as its subscription cost.



Students and scholars alike use Trinka as their primary grammar checker and language correction AI tool when writing their academic and technical papers. With its extensive tools – more than 3,000 – for grammar, tone and style, you can write better outputs with little to no errors while still maintaining your voice (i.e., your unique style of writing). Your academic and technical papers will also be less likely to contain errors, although editing them as many times as necessary is still a must – it’s only an AI tool, after all. 

The comprehensive grammar checks don’t only check for grammatical errors but also spelling, consistency and style errors, a must when writing papers for presentation or publication. Trinka also provides advanced writing tips, including enhancements in tone and style that elevate your papers’ overall quality while still being true to your goal. You will be provided with actionable feedback that makes sense when you think more about it, not to mention that it’s an insight you can use in your future works. 

What we love the most about Trinka is that it’s specifically designed as an AI tool for formal writing purposes, such as your senior’s thesis or capstone project in college, even your master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation in your graduate studies. Even the simplest mistakes in these academic papers can negatively impact your grades or your professional reputation. 

Trinka also has a sophisticated plagiarism checker feature (i.e., iThenticate text similarity detection algorithm), an auto-editing feature for quick revisions of MS Word documents, and suggestions for publication formatting conventions (e.g., APA and AMA). Students also love the publication readiness checker, citation checker, and personal dictionary.



For students and scholars with tight schedules, the opportunity to save even 1.5 hours every week on research-related work is welcome! This is what the developers of Elicit, an AI research assistant that uses language models in the automation of workflows involved in the research process, promise – and deliver in many ways. The company that offers the AI tool, also known as Elicit, is a for-profit research foundation. 

Note that the current Elicit version primarily automates literature review. You will ask a question, and Elicit will find relevant information (e.g., scholarly journals, research papers, and conference proceedings), organize the information into summaries, and present them in tables. You may customize the tables according to your desired information metrics, such as the outcomes, interventions and study type, resulting in easier tracking and monitoring of your sources. 

The relevant information comes from academic literature from across a wide range of disciplines, meaning students can ask questions about the datasets used in studying logical reasoning or the effects of creatine on the body. Note, however, that the papers presented in the search results may or may not match the keywords provided. 

Aside from finding academic papers on diverse topics, Elicit can also gather, analyze and organize multiple materials, including your own documents (e.g., uploaded PDFs). You can also brainstorm for topics, identify and define key search terms, and determine your research direction. Elicit is also notable for providing just-in-time updates, a useful feature considering the ever-evolving body of knowledge in any field. 

But Elicit has its share of limitations, too, such as limited access to full-text documents (i.e., paywall) and the risk of misrepresenting or misinterpreting information, as is the case with many AI tools. Again, always verify the information, exercise caution, and use your professional judgment.

Research Rabbit

Research Rabbit

Launched in 2021, Research Rabbit is a free, web-based platform that facilitates the literature review process in academic writing (e.g., senior’s thesis, master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation). The literature review can be problematic because of the sheer number of data that must be identified, sorted and organized into reliable and relevant information. Research Rabbit lessens the time, energy and effort spent on these tasks by providing useful features in searching for information in articles, books and other published materials, organizing them into a systematic format, and saving them for future reference. 

Since it’s a free AI tool, you can use it for your academic writing regardless of your academic discipline, affiliation and direction. Research Rabbit isn’t a library resource, either. 

The AI tool is fairly straightforward to use, too. You sign up for the AI tool and start exploring its user-friendly user interface. You must create and name your collection (i.e., click on the New Collection or the +Collection button), add your seed papers (i.e., click on the Add Papers button that will open a search bar), and type in the relevant keywords related to your academic work. 

Click the Search button, scan the list of sources provided in the search results, and add the relevant sources to your collection. You can write comments about these sources, too. Research Rabbit provides summaries of the sources and a diagram demonstrating the connections between these sources and their authors, as well as access to the sources’ PDFs. You may also change the format of the graph for your convenience. 



Zotero is an AI-powered, open-source research management tool that acts as your personal research assistant – and for free, too! This is among the few AI tools specifically designed for researchers and scholars with useful features for the collection, organization, citation and annotation of source documents, as well as sharing of research documents. You can customize your collections of source and research documents, too, aside from benefiting from the automatic extractions of the sources’ metadata. 

Setting up your personal account is easy. Just download the desktop application on your personal computer – it’s compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux – and install its mobile-friendly Zotero Bookmarklet. You can then sync your Zotero library on all your computers, followed by installing the word processor plugin and the web browser connector. This will save your citations from your source websites and databases. 

Your Zotero account provides a fairly impressive 300MB of storage and an unlimited number of groups that you can create and join. With Zotero installed, you can directly insert your sources into your academic paper in various ways, thanks to the word processor plugin, such as footnotes, in-text citations and bibliographies. 

You can use Zotero with MS Word, Google Docs, and LibreOffice Writer, in addition to its expansive 10,000+ citation styles that allow for customized formatting and styling. We particularly appreciate the “cite as you write” convenience that Zotero brings to the table.  

Note that Zotero works well with PDF and non-PDF content, as well as with an extensive array of catalogs, including MOBIUS, WU Classic, and WorldCar. 

Zotero’s lack of institutional customer support service is an issue, but users can get extensive information on the Zotero website about troubleshooting common issues, access to the Zotero Forums, and instructional screencasts. If your college has Zotero in its system, you can ask for tutorials, if any.



The Consensus app is an AI search engine powered by GPT-4 that’s useful in the extraction and distillation of data from published scientific research. The result: Users receive answers based on scientific evidence to a wide range of queries. Indeed, it’s among the few AI tools that source information exclusively from published sources, including peer-reviewed research! 

As an AI search engine, Consensus uses natural language processing, machine learning, and blockchain technology in the identification, analysis and evaluation of the authenticity of content on the web. Then, AI is used in reading the content and extracting the relevant answers related to the questions being posed. While there are no right or wrong questions, asking the “right questions” will result in answers backed by a sufficient quantity of quality sources. 

Keep in mind that your questions must be scientific, such as questions in biology, physiology and sociology. Your questions can either be open-ended or yes/no questions, and you can also ask for the answers to be expanded. With scientifically verified results based on previously published scholarly works – the website claims 400 million-plus scholarly works are its sources – you can save time and energy on research. 

There’s also a consensus meter that highlights the consensus and divergence among authors of scholarly works, a useful tool in yes/no questions. The ChatGPT 4 summary runs ten results, at least, but will only display the relevant answers, meaning you will benefit from the more efficient search.



Tableau is a popular Salesforce-powered data visualization tool among researchers, academics and students at the college and graduate levels. This is also considered an excellent reference management software with a drag-and-drop interface that results in effective and efficient identification, exploration and organization, as well as analysis of data, outliers and patterns contained in research sources. Users also appreciate the user-friendly and interactive dashboard that strengthens their positive experiences with the AI tool. 

Tableau has many features, too, which cater to different needs and wants:

With its intelligent data preparation feature, you can also access data and prepare it for analysis regardless of its location and condition. 



ChatPDF is an AI tool with immense potential for students, researchers and academics in their formal writing, from essays to research papers. Users upload their PDF documents on the AI interface and then interact with it, thanks to its generative AI model. With its natural language processing feature, it can analyze a PDF document and provide immediate answers to questions related to its contents. The result is less time spent on reading an entire PDF document, a particularly useful feature with lengthy or voluminous PDF documents. 

The answers provided aren’t just quick in coming – these are concise yet true to the contents in the PDF document, aside from being context-specific responses. The information is summarized in an easily digestible format that makes it easier to incorporate in an academic paper. PDF documents can be virtually anything, too, such as scholarly articles and research papers, conference presentations, financial reports, and legal contracts. 

Users can also challenge the summaries provided by ChatPDF, an interactive engagement that can deepen their understanding of the topic and contribute to their ability to form their own opinions. You can also highlight specific areas that require further research. The summaries and annotations possible with ChatPDF are of particular importance in making reliable literature reviews, too. 

But beware that ChatPDF is similar to ChatGPT in that it has a high risk of plagiarism and repetition. You must still exercise your critical thinking skills and verify information when in doubt. 

AI Tools You Can Use to Speed Up and Assist Your Research and Paper Writing - fact

AI tools can support the writing-related work of college students, researchers and scientists, but these aren’t likely to completely replace the originality, creativity and quality of work that humans can generate. You must treat them for what they are – writing aids only!

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