Skip to Main Content

Boatwright Memorial Library

Citing AI

 

The use of AI and tools like Chat GPT in academic writing is a new and evolving field, so we will update this page as best practices develop further. Liaison librarians can help with any discipline-specific questions you might have.

APA Advice

Quoting or reproducing the text created by ChatGPT in your paper

"If you’ve used ChatGPT or other AI tools in your research, describe how you used the tool in your Method section or in a comparable section of your paper. For literature reviews or other types of essays or response or reaction papers, you might describe how you used the tool in your introduction. In your text, provide the prompt you used and then any portion of the relevant text that was generated in response.

Unfortunately, the results of a ChatGPT “chat” are not retrievable by other readers, and although nonretrievable data or quotations in APA Style papers are usually cited as personal communications, with ChatGPT-generated text there is no person communicating. Quoting ChatGPT’s text from a chat session is therefore more like sharing an algorithm’s output; thus, credit the author of the algorithm with a reference list entry and the corresponding in-text citation.

Example:

When prompted with “Is the left brain right brain divide real or a metaphor?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that although the two brain hemispheres are somewhat specialized, “the notation that people can be characterized as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’ is considered to be an oversimplification and a popular myth” (OpenAI, 2023)."

Reference

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat

MLA Advice

"The MLA’s method for citing sources uses a template of core elements—standardized criteria that writers can use to evaluate sources and create works-cited-list entries based on that evaluation. That new technologies like ChatGPT emerge is a key reason why the MLA has adopted this approach to citation—to give writers flexibility to apply the style when they encounter new types of sources. In what follows, we offer recommendations for citing generative AI, defined as a tool that “can analyze or summarize content from a huge set of information, including web pages, books and other writing available on the internet, and use that data to create original new content” (Weed). 

You should

  • cite a generative AI tool whenever you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it 
  • acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location 
  • take care to vet the secondary sources it cites" (see examples on this page for more details)

Example:

MLA provides examples for generative text that is directly quoted as well as paraphrased within written text.  The example below shows citing for paraphrased text:

Works Cited

“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, chat.openai.com/chat.

Chicago Advice

"You do need to credit ChatGPT and similar tools whenever you use the text that they generate in your own work. But for most types of writing, you can simply acknowledge the AI tool in your text (e.g., “The following recipe for pizza dough was generated by ChatGPT”).

If you need a more formal citation—for example, for a student paper or for a research article—a numbered footnote or endnote might look like this:

1. Text generated by ChatGPT, March 7, 2023, OpenAI, https://chat.openai.com/chat.

ChatGPT is the author of the content, and the date is the date the text was generated. OpenAI (the organization that developed ChatGPT) is then listed as the publisher or sponsor of the content. After that, the URL tells us where the ChatGPT tool may be found, but because readers can’t get to the cited content (see below), that URL isn’t an essential element of the citation."

If the prompt hasn’t been included in the text, it can be included in the note:

1. ChatGPT, response to “Explain how to make pizza dough from common household ingredients,” March 7, 2023, OpenAI.

Boatwright Library

Profile Photo
Carol Wittig
she/her
Contact:
FYS and SPCS KM - ENG Instructor
Rm. 179, Research & Collaborative Area
Boatwright Library
University of Richmond
261 Richmond Way
Richmond, VA 23173
804.289.8459
Website

Citing images created by AI