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APA Citation and University Writing: Chat GPT & AI

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Citing Chat GPT & AI

When should you cite ChatGPT and AI? (from Turnitin)

In a recent survey of 203 teachers, 26% reported having caught a student using ChatGPT to “cheat.” According to Forbes, 43% of students reported using AI tools, and 51% believe that using them to complete assignments and exams is cheating. As artificial intelligence takes a more prominent seat in educational spaces, students and educators must navigate the differing attitudes around the use of generative AI tools in academic writing, and establish clear ground rules for appropriate use to avoid cases of academic misconduct.

Speaking to the Times , Matt Glanville, the IB’s head of assessment principles and practice, said, “The clear line between using ChatGPT and providing original work is the same as using ideas taken from other people or the internet. As with any quote or material adapted from another source, it must be credited in the body of the text and appropriately referenced in the bibliography.”

Similarly, if using ChatGPT or other AI tools for research purposes, it is important to clearly record this, whether it be in the footnotes, method section, or any other comparable section of your writing. The citation should highlight the prompt you used to elicit the AI tool’s response.

For example, if you are citing an AI-generated response to a prompt or question, you should lead with the fact that the tool was used:

“When given a prompt of “How do I cite AI?” the ChatGPT generated text indicated that…”

In this way, you are not only making a concerted effort to cite ChatGPT or generative AI as a source but you are actively revealing your research methodology by way of your prompt. Citing AI is not as simple as giving credit to the original author; it’s much more involved and requires us to “show our work."

The consequences for not properly citing AI are the same as if an author isn’t cited at all: your work may be investigated for potential academic misconduct. But while the rules around citing AI are new, it is safer to apply the same rules to AI that we would for using the work of someone or something else: if you didn’t write it, you should cite it.

How to cite Chat GPT and AI

How do you cite ChatGPT and AI in APA format? (from Turnitin)

As with MLA format, citing ChatGPT and AI in APA format requires both in-text and indexed citations on your References page. Also, just like MLA, APA Style offers a guide for citing ChatGPT and AI tools . However, this guide, as with MLA’s, is evolving. These technologies are new, and APA themselves acknowledge this in their article :

“We’ve also been gathering feedback about the use and citation of ChatGPT. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and shared ideas, opinions, research, and feedback…we know instructors have differing opinions about how or even whether students should use ChatGPT, and we’ll be continuing to collect feedback about instructor and student questions.”

With this in mind, there are current guidelines that, while subject to change, are important to follow.

In-text citations for ChatGPT and AI in APA

Unlike MLA, APA’s Style Guide does not give specific guidance for paraphrasing. So, we recommend adding an in-text citation wherever an AI-generated response is used: note the prompt that was given and describe what the AI tool generated from your prompt.

For the citation itself, APA Style is very simple: reference the name of the company who created the AI tool, and the year the response was accessed. For example:

When prompted with ‘How to cite ChatGPT in APA style,’ the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that the tool should be ‘referenced [as] computer software’ (OpenAI, 2023).

The main difference between MLA and APA in-text citations for ChatGPT and AI is that, in APA style, writers can add the full transcript of their AI response into the index of their article. If you choose to do so, you can indicate that choice in your citation. For example:

(OpenAI, 2023; see Appendix A for the full transcript)

Some writers will choose this option because, unlike traditional resource materials, the same or similar prompts may elicit different responses from AI tools. In this case, especially for articles written for the sciences, it’s important to speak with your instructor or editor to determine the best path forward.

Reference page entries for ChatGPT in APA Style

APA Reference Page entries for ChatGPT differ slightly from MLA. In MLA, writers are asked to record the prompt used to generate the response cited. In APA, that is not required. All that you’ll need is:

  • The name of the company that created the AI tool
  • The year the AI tool was accessed
  • The name of the AI tool
  • The version of the AI tool used
  • The nature of the technology
  • The core URL for the tool

The main difference here is “the nature of the technology.” APA Style, in an attempt to use similar formatting for other generative AI tools, asks that writers note the type of generative AI tool they are referencing. In this case, ChatGPT would be known as a “large language model .”

So, the Reference Page citation for ChatGPT would look like this:

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Oct 31 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat