Cite Your Sources: Citing Generative AI

This guide provides information on citation styles, how to read a citation and how to avoid plagiarism.

Citing Generative AI Tools in APA, MLA, and Chicago

The three commonly used citation styles have guidance on citing tools like ChatGPT. If you are using a citation style other than APA, MLA, or Chicago and lack guidance from your course professor or discipline, use the citation style that most closely aligns with the style you use. 

How to cite ChatGPT from the APA

"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."

American Psychological Association. (2023). How to cite ChatGPT [blog post]. Retrieved from 

Beware of Fake AI Citations

You may have heard of the concept of AI hallucinations. At the Library, we have been getting a lot of questions from students and faculty looking for citations to books and articles that don’t actually exist. These look like real citations and often include real elements, like existing journals and author names, and they might be part of a list that includes real resources. In many cases, faculty and students found these citations using generative AI, like Chat GPT.

Check out this article for more information: AI hallucinations are a known problem

If you want to check if a citation is real, a great place to start is by copying the article title into Google Scholar or the PSU Library catalog. If there are no results that match, or elements of the citation such as author and journal title are different, it might have been an AI hallucination.

Using Generative AI in Your Assignments: Key Points

  1. Before using content from generative AI tools like ChatGPT in your assignments, check the course syllabus or with your professor! Each professor will have have their own policy as it relates to the use of generative AI in the course.
  2. Be prepared to document your use of AI in your assignments, such as properly citing it when using it as a source of information. Some professors might ask you to include the AI generated content as an appendix to your paper or assignment.
  3. Each discipline's professional association could issue guidance on citing generative AI in their own preferred style. Check the citing sources page on the subject guide for your discipline for any particular information that might be available. 
  4. Verify the accuracy of AI content with lateral reading. Also, keep in mind that we do not know what information the AI has digested or not digested, and the information might not be current. For example, ChatGPT was trained on data available as of 2021
  5. Generative AI is known to "hallucinate" citations. It knows that it should cite information, but often does not have actual citations to reference. Always double check citations given to you by generative AI with a tool like Google Scholar. 

Lateral Reading Video

Watch this 3-minute video about the importance of lateral reading when evaluating a website or checking the accuracy of ChatGPT. The key message is to move throughout the Web to assess the website in question or the response from ChatGPT. Do not rely solely on the content or links of the website or ChatGPT.

Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0

Citizen Literacy was created by Robert Detmering, Amber Willenborg, and Terri Holtze for University of Louisville Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.