Skip to Main Content

Citing Sources: Citing ChatGPT

Citing ChatGPT

If you’ve used ChatGPT or other AI tools in your research, describe how you used the tool in your assignment, for example in the introduction or methodology sections. In your text, provide the prompt you used and then any portion of the relevant text that was generated in response.


Examples of in-text citations:

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).

Example of Reference list citation:

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


The basic components of the citation are: author, date, title, and source.

Author: The author of the model is OpenAI.

Date: The date is the year of the version you used.

Title: The name of the model is “ChatGPT,” so that serves as the title and is italicized in your reference, as shown in the example.

The version number is included after the title in parentheses. The format for the version number in ChatGPT references includes the date because that is how OpenAI is labeling the versions. Different large language models or software might use different version numbering; use the version number in the format the author or publisher provides, which may be a numbering system (e.g., Version 2.0) or other methods.

Bracketed text is used in references for additional descriptions when they are needed to help a reader understand what’s being cited. In the case of a reference for ChatGPT, provide the descriptor “Large language model” in square brackets. OpenAI describes ChatGPT-4 as a “large multimodal model,” so that description may be provided instead if you are using ChatGPT-4. Later versions and software or models from other companies may need different descriptions, based on how the publishers describe the model. The goal of the bracketed text is to briefly describe the kind of model to your reader.

Source: When the publisher name and the author name are the same, do not repeat the publisher name in the source element of the reference, and move directly to the URL. This is the case for ChatGPT. The URL for ChatGPT is For other models or products for which you may create a reference, use the URL that links as directly as possible to the source (i.e., the page where you can access the model, not the publisher’s homepage).


Note: "Unfortunately, the results of a ChatGPT “chat” are not retrievable by other readers, and although nonretrievable data or quotations in APA Style papers are usually cited as personal communications, with ChatGPT-generated text there is no person communicating. Quoting ChatGPT’s text from a chat session is therefore more like sharing an algorithm’s output; thus, credit the author of the algorithm with a reference list entry and the corresponding in-text citation” (APA Style Blog, 2023).

Caution: When asked for a list of sources to support the text it provides, ChatGPT may make up primary sources that do not exist. Authors using ChatGPT or similar AI tools for research should consider making this scrutiny of the primary sources a standard process. If the sources are real, accurate, and relevant, it may be better to read those original sources to learn from that research and paraphrase or quote from those articles, as applicable, than to use the model’s interpretation of them.


Source: McAdoo, T. (2023, April 7). How to Cite ChatGPT. APA Style Blog.