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Artificial Intelligence

In today's world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) impacts all education fields and is not subject specific. This Research Guide is here to support your research and learning journey in Artificial Intelligence.

How to Cite AI Tools

The current consensus across most citation styles is to cite AI tools as "personal communication" because content from AI tools like ChatGPT is usually nonrecoverable or easily trackable unless it is directly from your account, so it cannot be retrieved or linked in your citation. 

Confirm with your professor whether AI tools like ChatGPT are allowed for use within your assignments and course work before use and citing the AI tools. 

Some articles about citations and AI tools are linked below. 

APA Style

At this time, APA recommends that text generated from AI be cited and formatted as "Personal Communication." More details regarding the guidelines on this topic can be found in a specific post on How to Cite ChatGPT written by the APA Style team. 

As personal communication, it receives an in-text citation but not an entry on the References list.

Personal Communication Rule: (Communicator, personal communication, Month Date, Year)

Parenthetical Citation Example: 

(OpenAI, personal communication, July 17, 2023).

When describing the connection between cattle ranching and sustainability efforts, OpenAI's ChatGPT's response included ... (personal communication, June 15, 2023) 

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style editors have released a Q&A post on referencing AI-generated text to cite AI tools like ChatGPT within the text or in footnotes, but notes "don’t cite ChatGPT in a bibliography or reference list unless you provide a publicly available link." 


Footnote: Note number. AI tool used, Month Day, Year, Creator of tool, URL.

  • Numbered Footnote with shareable URL:  1. Text generated using ChatGPT, August 22, 2023, OpenAI, 
  • Numbered Footnote (when prompt is written in text):  1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, August 22, 2023, 
  • Numbered Footnote (when prompt is not mentioned in text): 1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, August 22, 2023,

In-text Author-Date Example: 

In-text citation - narrative (author-prominent):

  • Rule: Author (year)
  • Example: ChatGPT (2023) or Bard (2023)

In-text citation - parenthetical (information-prominent):

  • Rule: (Author year)
  • Example: (ChatGPT 2023) or (Bard 2023)

Reference list entry example - shareable URL generated by the AI tool:

  • Rule: Author. Year. Name of tool. Version (if available). Month Day, Year. URL
  • Example: OpenAI. 2023. ChatGPT. May 24 version.  August 22, 2023. 

Vancouver Style

The NLM Style Guide recommends that personal communications are cited only in text, and not included in the reference list. Usually, the Vancouver referencing style uses numbered in-text citations, but for personal communications the advice is as follows:

  • provide information about the personal communication within the text
  • Include the nature and source of the cited information
  • indicate clearly that no corresponding citation is in the reference list (e.g. include the term 'unreferenced' or similar)

Example: In response to the prompt..., OpenAI's ChatGPT responsed with ... (2023 August 22, unreferenced) 

The International Community of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has released guidance on the use of generative AI tools in scholarly work published in medical journals. The advice is that AI tools should not be listed or cited as authors, and that the use of AI tools needs to be acknowledged.

MLA Style

From "How do I cite generative AI in MLA style?": 

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.

This blog post is from March 17, 2023 and is currently the most up to date guidance on citing AI tools in MLA style. 

They do state: "We do not recommend treating the AI tool as an author. This recommendation follows the policies developed by various publishers, including the MLA’s journal PMLA." 

IEEE Style

There has been no guidance given by IEEE on how to cite generative AI within this specific style. 

However, there have been libraries in North America and Australia that have suggestions on how to cite generative AI like ChatGPT that follow stylistic guidelines of IEEE.