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Citing Sources: ChatGPT and Other Generative AI

Information about academic integrity, avoiding plagiarism, and guides to creating citations in a variety of styles, such as APA, MLA, AMA, Chicago and more.


Before Using ChatGPT

Students, using ChatGPT or other AI tools without permission will get you in trouble!

Before using ChatGPT or any other AI tools, confirm with your professor that content provided by the AI is acceptable to use for the class and the assignment. And if you use any AI tools, be sure to cite or acknowledge their use properly (more information below).

AI-detection tools are now in common use. If you use any AI-generated text, your assignment could be flagged as being potentially in breach of academic integrity! Always follow your instructor's guidelines on what sources and tools are acceptable.

Besides ChatGPT, the words generated by the AI features of many popular tools, such as Grammarly, QuillBot, and Scribbr may also be detected and flagged by AI-detection software.

Citing and Acknowledging

If you have permission to use ChatGPT or another AI tool in your assignment, you must report any use of the AI tool. There are two main ways to do this:

  1. Cite any direct uses of ideas, words, or other content generated by the AI tool using the appropriate citation style.
    • Check the APA, MLA, and Chicago Style guides for specific citation formatting details.
    • It is considered plagiarism if you fail to cite the direct use of AI-generated ideas, words, or content.
    • An APA example citation is:
      • In-text citation: (OpenAI, 2023)
      • Reference list entry: OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].
  2. Acknowledge any use of an AI tool for indirect support or assistance by stating it clearly in the assignment itself or in a separate “Acknowledgements” section.
    • Using an AI tool without permission and acknowledgement, even if used indirectly, may be considered a breach of academic integrity.
    • Examples of indirect use include using an AI tool to: critique your work, brainstorm topics, reorganize outlines, receive tutoring on assignment-related topics, suggest relevant research, summarize articles, and much more.
    • Be sure you understand what tools and sources your instructor considers appropriate and inappropriate for use on each assignment.


How to Cite ChatGPT and Other Generative AI

Am I Cheating if I use ChatGPT

The most important thing is to ensure that you only use AI tools like ChatGPT if:

  1. You have clear permission to do so from your instructor.
  2. You properly cite and acknowledge all use of the AI tool.

Using ChatGPT-generated content in your work is identified as co-authored by you and the generative AI. Refer to Sharing & publication policy by OpenAI (the creators of ChatGPT). Failing to properly attribute ChatGPT-generated content is considered plagiarism. 

Something to consider, ChatGPT was created to give human-like responses and will prioritize this over accuracy. ChatGPT has been known to create fake source material and fake people like authors and scientists. In fact, ChatGPT can make up anything! So if you have received clear permission from your instructor to use ChatGPT in an assignment, be sure to fact-check all generated content.

What to Cite & How

Any time you use information or ideas from another source, whether you are directly quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, or referring to that source, it is very important to appropriately cite. Follow the links below for more information on identifying when citation is necessary

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