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Generative AI & Higher Ed: Citing AI

A look at how generative AI is being used in higher education and resources to help explain the uses and limitations of AI.

Citing AI


*Always check with your professor to see whether AI tools are allowed for an assignment*

*Always verify sources and information provided by AI tools*

  • AI is known to create false sources and information. 
  • AI mines other people's intellectual property without citing them, which is an ethical issue.

APA Guide to Citing AI

  • For research, describe how you used AI in your Methods section.
  • For literature reviews, essays, or response papers, describe how you used the tool in your introduction.
  • According to APA, citing Generative AI responses is most similar to citing an algorithm's output, so "credit the author of the algorithm with a reference list entry and the corresponding in-text citation."
    • Example: OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].
      • Parenthetical citation: (OpenAI, 2023)

      • Narrative citation: OpenAI (2023)

MLA Guide to Citing AI

  • MLA does not recommend crediting AI as an author in citations.
  • AI should be cited in the following instances:
    • When you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate any content (text, image, data, etc.) that was created by AI into your own work.
    • Acknowledge uses of the tool (like editing or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location.
    • Always check the sources that AI cites
  • Example: “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,
    • In-text citation: ("Describe the symbolism")

Chicago Guide to Citing AI

  • For most types of writing, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends acknowledging use of AI tools in your text (for example, in a paragraph about your research methods).
  • Chicago citations do cite the specific AI tool used as an author and the company that created the AI tool as the publisher.
    • Footnote example: 1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, March 7, 2023,
    • Footnote example including prompt: 1. ChatGPT, response to “Explain how to make pizza dough from common household ingredients,” OpenAI, March 7, 2023.

Other Resources for Documenting AI Use

Kimberly D. Acquaviva, Endowed Professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, has created a guide to help researchers and students document use of AI in their papers and projects