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Citation Help

Need to cite your sources? This guide can help.

Academic integrity

As of this writing, Fresno State does not have any campus policies specifically about using AI in academic work. Be sure you check with your instructor for any policies they may have about what kinds of uses are allowable in what contexts.

Even without any policies, there are two general principles you should keep in mind:

  • Just as you wouldn't copy another person's work and put your name on it, don't claim AI-generated text as your own work. See below for guidelines on citing any output from AI that you might want to use.
  • Be transparent about your use of AI and what you used it for. Academic publishers, such as APA Journals, are increasingly adopting policies requiring disclosure of AI use.

(This guide was written entirely by human librarians. But we did ask ChatGPT for ideas on what to include.)

Citing AI output

How to Cite AI

Citing generative AI (such as Chat GPT) allows you to participate in scholarly conversations by acknowledging others’ words or ideas and drawing on them to shape your own work. Citing AI also creates transparency by informing your reader of how you used AI in your process.

When incorporating ChatGPT or similar AI tools in your research, include a brief description in the Method section or a comparable section of your paper. If you're writing a literature review or a response paper, mention your usage of the tool in the introduction. Provide the prompt used and a portion of the relevant generated text. Remember, as ChatGPT's output is not retrievable, treat it like sharing an algorithm's output. Credit the algorithm's author with a reference list entry and corresponding in-text citation.


Author. (Date). Name of tool (Version of tool) [Large language model]. URL


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].

In-Text Citation

  • Parenthetical citation: (OpenAI, 2023)
  • Narrative citation: OpenAI (2023)


Reference: APA: How to cite ChatGPT? (As of 7 April 2023)


"Description of chat" prompt. Name of AI tool, version of AI tool, Company, Date of chat, URL.


"Examples of harm reduction initiatives" prompt. ChatGPT, 23 Mar. version, OpenAI, 4 Mar. 2023,

In-Text Citation

("Examples of harm reduction")

If you create a shareable link to the chat transcript, include that instead of the tool's URL.

MLA also recommends acknowledging when you used the tool in a note or your text as well as verifying any sources or citations the tool supplies.


Reference: How do I cite generative AI in MLA style? (As of 17 March 2023)

Footnotes or Endnotes

For formal citations in a student paper or research article, use numbered footnotes or endnotes. For example,

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

In this format, ChatGPT serves as the "author" and OpenAI as the publisher or sponsor, followed by the date the text was generated. The URL is optional as readers may not be able to access the content.

If the prompt is not included in the text, it can be added in the note:

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

If you've edited the AI-generated text, mention it in the note (e.g., "edited for style and content").


For author-date citations, include any additional information in parentheses within the text. For example, 

(ChatGPT, March 7, 2023).

Don't cite ChatGPT in a bibliography or reference list unless a publicly available link is provided. Without an accessible link, treat the information like personal communication.

Reference: The Chicago Manual Online: Citation, Documentation of Sources (As of 7 March 2023)