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Citation and Reference Management: Citing Generative AI

Information about citation and citation management

Citing Generative AI

How to be an honest academic citizen when it comes to generative AI

  • Describe how you used generative AI and what you did: did you prompt it to find sources, conduct a literature review, translate a text for you, create code, or generate an outline for an essay? You could include this description in the text of your work or in an appendix, but your professor may have a preference.
  • Include what you asked: submit your prompts and the tools responses as an appendix to your assignment.
  • Cite your tool if you are quoting, paraphrasing, or using creative works generated by it. We've included some guidance from the major style guides below.

Citation Styles and Generative AI

"Do I need to cite ChatGPT, Bard, Midjourney, Dall-E, etc.?"


(First check your syllabus to confirm that you're allowed to use these tools in your course.)

If you are, the answer is yes, you do need to cite them — the question is how. And like many things citation-related, the answer is "it depends." It might take a while for citation generators and citation management tools to catch up to evolutions in generative AI, but the various styles are already producing (and frequently updating) guidance. If the citation style you are using does not have official guidance on how to cite generative AI, you can think of the prompt-and-answer sequence as personal correspondence or an interview and use the style guide's instructions for that format instead. In general, your references should provide clear and accurate information for each source, identify where they have been used in your work, and indicate if and when you have used a tool for ideation or planning, even if the content it produces doesn't end up in what you write.

APA Style

The APA Style team is still creating official guidance on how to cite AI tools, but in April 2023 they wrote a blog post explaining their thinking and detailing how to (a) quote or reproduce text generated by AI and (b) create a reference to a generative AI tool.

MLA Style

The MLA Style Center provides extensive examples of how to cite generative AI tools used to paraphrase text, quote text, create visual works, quote creative textual work, or cite secondary sources used by the tool. 

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style Style Q & A provides examples of how to cite content developed by AI and recommends using footnotes or endnotes to indicate what and how generative AI tools were used. However, it suggests that writers should not include ChatGPT or similar tools in a bibliography or reference list unless they can provide a reliable link that anyone can access. 


As of October 2023, IEEE has not released any official guidance on citing generative AI-produced content or documenting AI-provided assistance. We recommend following the guidance in the IEEE Editorial Style Manual for personal communication and unpublished material.

Stop and Check

Stop and Check!

Remember that generative AI models sometimes produce incorrect or biased information, including hallucinated citations. Be sure to check the accuracy of AI-produced content before relying on it to build an argument or create a review.