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Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

Citing an Artificial Intelligence

  • Submitting writing or other content generated by an artificial intelligence as your own work is a violation of Columbia College Chicago’s academic integrity policy.

  • Check your course’s syllabus or ask your instructor for their policy on using artificial intelligence in your work.

  • If you do use generative AI in your work, be sure to cite its use.

  • Remember that citing the use of an AI is not the same as citing the source of a piece of information in its output.

  • Be aware of the following shortcomings of current generative AI technology:

    • They may not provide specific sources or citations for the information they output. Their responses are an amalgam of content pulled from across the Internet.

    • It has been demonstrated that when an AI does provide academic citations, they are sometimes fake or “hallucinations.”

    • The Internet content that AI is trained on is dated. The information that an AI is using to generate its responses is sometimes several years old.

    • AI can demonstrate the same social and intellectual biases of its source material.


MLA offers citation guidelines for the following scenarios, visit the link above for detailed explanations:

When you paraphrase or quote the output of a generative AI in your text, use the following format:

Works-cited-list entry format:

“The prompt you used” prompt. Title of AI, Version, Publisher of the AI, Date the content was generated, URL of AI tool.

Works-cited-list entry 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,


When including an AI-generated image in your work, use the following format if a caption is needed:

Caption format:

Fig. Number of the figure. “Description of the prompt you used” prompt, Title of AI, Version, Publisher of the AI, Date the work was generated, URL of AI tool.

Caption example:

Fig. 1. “Pointillist painting of a sheep in a sunny field of blue flowers” prompt, DALL-E, version 2, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023,


If you have an AI generate a work and you wish to cite it, use the following format:

Citation format:

“Title or brief description of the work” prompt description. Title of AI, Version, Publisher of AI, Date work was generated, URL of AI tool.

Citation example:

“Upon the shore . . .” Shakespearean sonnet about seeing the ocean. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023,



APA recommends describing how you used a generative AI in a method section or the introduction of your paper. In the text of your paper, you should include the prompt used along with the relevant text from the AI’s response. 

For long responses, consider including the full text of the response in an appendix or with online supplemental materials.

Example from APA: 

When prompted with “Is the left brain right brain divide real or a metaphor?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that although the two brain hemispheres are somewhat specialized, “the notation that people can be characterized as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’ is considered to be an oversimplification and a popular myth” (OpenAI, 2023).


OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].


Use the following formatting for reference and in-text citations:

APA Reference format: 

Author of AI. (Year of the version). Title of AI (Version number or date) [Description of AI model]. URL of AI tool 

APA Reference example: 

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. 


Parenthetical citation format:

(Author of AI, Year of version)

Parenthetical citation example: 

(OpenAI, 2023) 


Narrative citation format:

Author of AI (Year of version) 

Narrative citation example: 

OpenAI (2023) 


The Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style offers the following, interim guidance for citing a generative AI in their two methods of citation (notes & author-date). See the link above for more information. 

According to their current advice, you should not include a generative AI in your bibliography or reference list. As the generated output of AI chatbots is not retrievable to others, it’s considered more like a type of personal communication. However, you must cite the use of a generative AI's output in the text of your paper in either a note or a parenthetical text reference.


Numbered footnote or endnote format: 

Note number. Title of the AI, Date the text was generated, Publisher of the AI, URL of AI tool. 

 Numbered footnote or endnote example: 

1. Text generated by ChatGPT, March 7, 2023, OpenAI,

If you did not include the prompt you used in the text of your paper, you can include it in your note like so: 

1. ChatGPT, response to “Explain how to make pizza dough from common household ingredients,” March 7, 2023, OpenAI. 


When using the author-date citation style, put any information not mentioned in your text in a parenthetical text citation. 

Parenthetical text reference format: 

(Title of the AI, Date text was generated) 

Parenthetical text reference example: 

(ChatGPT, March 7, 2023) 


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