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Citations & Plagiarism

Use this guide to find help and information on citation styles and avoiding plagiarism.

Citation, Plagiarism, & AI

APA recommends attributing authorship to AI, whereas MLA advises against it.


  • Credit the AI tool as an author.
  • "Because "the results of a ChatGPT “chat” are not retrievable by other readers, and although non-retrievable 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"  Quoted from the guide above.
  • Per guidelines above a chat with ChatGPT should not be cited as PERSONAL COMMUNICATION either.


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].


  • FOR RESEARCH METHODS: "Describe how you used the tool in your Method section."
  • FOR LITERATURE REVIEWS or ESSAYS: "Describe how you used the tool in your introduction. In your text, provide the prompt you used and then any portion of the relevant text that was generated in response."
  • FOR REFERENCE: "Credit the author of the algorithm with a reference list entry and the corresponding in-text citation"


"We do not recommend treating the AI tool as an author. This recommendation follows the policies developed by various publishers, including the MLA’s journal PMLA."  Quoted from the guide above. Some examples included in the guide are:

  • Example 1: Paraphrasing Text
  • Example 2: Quoting Text
  • Example 3: Citing Creative Visual Works
  • Example 4: Quoting Creative Textual Works
  • Example 5: Citing Secondary Sources Used by an AI Tool

EXAMPLE 1: Paraphrasing Text

Paraphrased in Your Prose

    While the green light in The Great Gatsby might be said to chiefly symbolize four main things: optimism, the unattainability of the American dream, greed, and covetousness (“Describe the symbolism”), arguably the most important—the one that ties all four themes together—is greed.

Works-Cited-List Entry

    “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,


  • Cite a generative AI tool whenever you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it.
  • Acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location, take care to vet the secondary sources it cites.

This information is adapted from a LibGuide created by Daniel Xiao, Research Impact Librarian at Texas A&M University Libraries.

Creative Commons LicenseThis LibGuide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you would like to reuse any part of this LibGuide for noncommercial purposes, please credit the guide's creators or the original content creator as noted, and include a link to the source. 

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