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Guidelines for Citing AI Platforms such as ChatGPT

In the past year, the arrival of ChatGPT and AI in general in education has influenced how we think about and do academic work. In some of your courses, there will be some instances where using AI is allowed and helpful. In other courses, you may be asked not to use AI to help you with tasks such as phrasing, idea development, research, and writing because you will be relying on something else (other than you) to do your work. You should thus be sure to check the syllabus for each of your courses, noting instructor policies to see if and how AI is allowed on your assignments.

In those instances where your instructor has given you the okay to use AI, you should always cite it. Bear in mind, however, that a citation alone is often insufficient. AI platforms can generate false information and false citations, and you may well perform poorly on an assignment, even if you cite the AI material, because it is falsified.

Below are general models of how to cite AI, followed by specific citations of ChatGPT in MLA and APA styles. For Chicago style, see the link provided.

MLA Style

Format:  "Text of chat prompt" prompt. Name of AI tool, version of AI tool, Company, Date of chat, URL.

Example: “Explain the symbol of the green light in The Great Gatsby” prompt. ChatGPT, August 3 version, OpenAI, August 10, 2023, chat.openai.com.

Some of the details in the model may be confusing; for a full explanation, see the MLA webpage on citing chatbots.

APA Style

Format: Company. (Year). AI Name (version) [Descriptor]. URL.

Example: OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (August 3 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com.

For a full explanation, see the APA webpage on citing chatbots.

Chicago Style

See the Chicago Manual of Style website for guidelines on citing chatbots.

For further thoughts on the use of chatbots in student work, see this helpful site assembled by an ethics team of students at Santa Clara University.