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Writing/Citing: ChatGPT & AI

A quick guide to help you in the writing of your paper and formatting according to APA, MLA, Chicago styles, and more.

What is Chat GPT?

ChatGPT is one brand of an artificial intelligence(AI) language model(LLM), built as an online assistant that can talk back-and-forth with a user, similar to a chatbot but much more powerful. Language Learning Models (LLMs), like ChatGPT, are designed to model human language and use mathematical models to predict what the next word is most likely to be based on what you are asking for.

Limitations to keep in mind: ChatGPT creates “new content” by predicting the word most likely to come next but it's limited. It can't use the internet; it relies on a HUGE dataset that ends in 2021...missing some current events and research since that time!!).

ChatCPT or other LLMs are not search engines, where you are given a set of results to a specific search. They don't understand, read, choose or give you the "best information."  You won't know where the information given is from, or who is behind the bot, providing the information. It is unregulated and influenced by how the user interacts with it.

Using ChatGPT or other generative AI in your assignments

Confirm with your professor before using any AI for your assignments. Some classes do not permit the use of AI tools, while others may allow AI with some limitations.

Any permitted use of AI for assessment must be acknowledged appropriately. Your professor will provide guidance on how to cite the use of AI tools. Some possible examples include:  

  • citing or referencing in the text or list of references
  • inclusion in your methodology
  • an appendix including a full transcript of any prompts and AI-generated responses.

Note: Information about using and citing ChatGPT and other generative AI tools in assignments and publications will continue to be updated. Check this page regularly to keep up with any changes (last updated August 2023).

Risks with using information from ChatGPT

AI models sometimes produce incorrect, biased or outdated information. Verify the accuracy of AI-generated content using reliable sources before including it in your work.

Additionally, there may be legal or ethical issues to consider when using AI.  If you intend to publish work incorporating AI-generated content, check the publisher guidelines about what is allowed/protected under copyright.

When interacting with AI models, you should be cautious about supplying sensitive information, including personal, confidential or propriety information or data.

Citing ChatGPT and other generative AI

Where an assignment requires ChatGPT to be cited, you must reference all the content from Generative AI tools that you include. Failure to reference externally sourced, non-original work can result in Academic Misconduct.

Citing generative AI content for specific referencing styles

For many referencing styles, there are no specific guidelines for citing ChatGPT or other generative AI.

However, broad guidelines for the following styles are available:

Content from generative AI is a nonrecoverable source as it can't be retrieved or linked.

We recommend that you base the reference for generative AI content on the reference style for personal communication or correspondence, unless the referencing style has specific guidelines. References should provide clear and accurate information for each source and should identify where they have been used in your work.

Acknowledge your use of ChatGPT or other generative AI

If you use ChatGPT or other generative AI to help you generate ideas or plan your process, you should still acknowledge how you used the tool, even if you don’t include any AI generated content in the assignment.

Provide a description of the AI tool used, what you did and the date accessed.

Save a copy of the transcript of your questions and responses from the generative AI tool. You can:

  • Take a screenshot
  • Right click and select Save as to save the webpage file.

APA 7th

Based on APA Style guidance, use both in-text citation and a corresponding reference.


Author of generative AI model, Year of version used


(OpenAI, 2022)

OpenAI (2022)

Reference list

Author of AI model used. (Year of AI model used). Name of AI model used (Version of AI model used) [Type or description of AI model used]. Web address of AI model used


OpenAI. (2022). ChatGPT (Dec 20 version) [Large language model].

The full transcript of a response can be included in an appendix or other supplementary materials.

Visit How to cite ChatGPT for more information.


Guidance based on How do I cite generative AI in MLA style? from the official style website.

In-text citation

(Short form Title of source) 

(“Describe the symbolism”) 

Work cited

“Title of source” prompt. Name of AI Tool, version, Company, Date content was generated, General web address of tool. 

“Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023, 

Chicago 17th

In-text citation or note

Number.Originator of the communication, medium, Day Month, Year.

1 OpenAI's ChatGPT AI language model, response to question from author, 7 February, 2023.

Citing generative AI for publication

Different publishers are taking different approaches to whether generative AI is allowed.

If you are writing for publication, you should check the publisher's information for authors.

Reusing content from this guide

Content from this guide based on information from: 

University of Queensland: ChatGPT and other generative AI tools

Butler University: AI in the Classroom

University of MN: Chat GPT and other AI Tools