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Generative Artificial Intelligence for Students

Best Bet

Until Valley College and the LACCD come up with comprehensive guidelines regarding student use of AI tools, your best bet for knowing when to use AI for college (and how to cite it) is to simply ask your instructor. Many instructors are now including AI guidelines in their syllabus, but if you don't see it there, you can always ask your instructor directly. 

If you have been falsely accused of cheating with AI, please refer to the information here

Keep in mind, as with all things related to AI, the norms and conventions for citing AI-generated content are likely to evolve over the next few years. For now, some of the major style guides have released preliminary guidelines, which we will outline below. 

MLA Style

How Do I Cite Generative AI in MLA Style? (Released March 17, 2023)

MLA style is generally more flexible that either APA or Chicago style, so while they provide specific examples for citing commonly used AI tools, they encourage writers to adapt those guidelines to fit the situation. 

Hare are some other guidelines for referencing AI-generated content in MLA style:

  • Cite the AI tool when you incorporate its output into your work. This includes direct quotations, images, and data, as well as paraphrased content.
  • If you use an AI tool for some other purpose, such as translating, editing, or generating an outline, include a note about this somewhere in your paper.
  • The MLA views AI-generated content as a source with no author, so you'll use the title of the source in your in-text citations, and in your reference list. The title you choose should be a brief description of the AI-generated content, such as an abbreviated version of the prompt you used. 
  • If you create a shareable link to the chat transcript, include that instead of the tool's URL.

"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 Example:

("Examples of harm reduction")

Source: Brown University Library

APA Style

APA: How to Cite ChatGPT (Released April 7, 2023)

When you cite AI-generated content using APA style, you should treat that content as the output of an algorithm, with the author of the content being the company or organization that created the model. For example, when citing ChatGPT, the author would be OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT. 

Here are some guidelines for referencing AI-generated content in APA style:

  • When you reference this content directly in your text, you should include an in-text citation, and an associated entry in your reference list. 
  • If you have used AI tools for some part of your research, you should describe that use in your introduction or methods section, and include the prompts that you used.

When referencing shorter passages of text, you can include that text directly in your paper. You might also include an appendix or link to an online supplement that includes the full text of long responses from a generative AI tool. 


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


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

In-Text Citation Example:

(OpenAI, 2023)

Source: Brown University Library

Chicago Style

Chicago Manual of Style, Citing Content Developed or Generated by Artificial Intelligence (Released in spring 2023)

Chicago style requires that you cite AI-generated content in your work by including either a note or a parenthetical citation, but advises you not to include that source in your bibliography or reference list.  The reason given for this is that, because you cannot provide a link to the conversation or session with the AI tool, you should tread that content as you would a phone call or private conversation. However, AI tools are starting to introduce functionality that does allow a user to generate a sharable link to a chat conversation, so this guidance from the Chicago Manual of Style may change. 

Here are some general guidelines for referencing AI-generated content in Chicago style:

  • Treat the AI tool as the author of the content.
  • If possible, describe the prompt used to generate the content in the text, but if that approach doesn't work, you can include that information in a footnote or endnote.
  • The date used in your citation will be the date the content was generated.

1. Author, Title, Publisher, Date, url for the tool.  

Example (if information about the prompt has been included within the text of your paper):

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

Example (including information about the prompt):

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

Source: Brown University Library

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