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APA Citation Guide: Artificial Intelligence & Chatbots

This guide shows you how to cite references in current (7th edition) APA style

Key Elements

  1. AI tool publisher
  2. Year: This is the year of the AI tool version you used, not the date the response was generated.
  3. AI tool title
  4. Version
  5. AI format: Use [Large language model]
  6. Tool URL (not the URL for the prompt)

See the APA Style Blog for additional guidance.

Visual Works & Images

AI-generated images are an emerging technology, and there are not yet clear guidelines for how to incorporate them into existing referencing styles. Our current recommendation for how to reference AI-generated images for APA is included below. Additionally, we recommend that you include the question or prompt that generated the image where possible, to provide context for your readers. 

To include the AI generated image in your work, provide a figure number and brief title above the image. Below the image, provide a caption that explains that the work was generated using an AI tool, and what prompt was used. No reference list entry is required for an image that you have produced using an AI tool.


Note. Description of figure.


Figure 1

An AI-generated image of an owl

image of a brown owl generated by Adobe Firefly

Note. Image generated using Adobe Firefly from the prompt brown owl in a forest.

Click here for information on citing creative visual works.

Latest Recommendations

The American Psychological Association recommends that you acknowledge ChatGPT and similar AI tools when you reproduce its words and other content (e.g., images) within your own work.

When using AI in your course assignments, it is important to:

  • Confirm with your professor whether AI tools like ChatGPT are allowed for each assignment
  • Verify information and sources generated by AI tools

Remember that AI can generate false information, cite non-existent sources (or, "hallucinations"), and ignore principles of attribution. This raises ethical concerns when choosing it for your scholarly research.

Note: Guidance on the academic use of AI tools is changing rapidly. Check here often for up-to-date guidelines or Ask a Librarian!

General Format for References

Although non-retrievable data and other works that cannot be recovered by readers in APA Style papers are usually cited as personal communications, with ChatGPT-generated text there is no person communicating and transcripts are not retained for future reference. As such, quoting ChatGPT’s text from a chat session is more like sharing an algorithm’s output. You will credit the author of the algorithm with a reference list entry and its corresponding in-text citation.

Generative AI tools are treated similarly to software. The company or creator of the tool is considered the author.

This is the format for Reference entries:

Company or creator of the tool. (Year this version was released). Name of the AI tool or model (version information if known such as version number, version date, or version name) [Type of AI Model].

URL link address to general site of AI tool or to specific content if available.


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].

More About the Elements

VERSION: Different AI tools may identify versions differently. Look for a version date (e.g., March 14 version), a version name, or a version number (e.g., Version 3.3). If there is no version information provided, skip this part of the citation.

YEAR DATE: The year date is the year that the version you used was released. If it isn’t clear when a particular tool or version of a tool was released, use Google to find out. For example, a Google search for DALL-E 2 release date shows multiple results that confirm that DALL-E 2 was released in 2022. ChatGPT 4 was released in 2023, and version 5 is expected to release in 2025. Note that the technology is evolving, and the latest release of ChatGPT, for example, may not be the one you used at the time of your research and writing.

URL: If the web address of the AI-generated content is publicly available to view without having an account or logging in, provide that URL. If you must log in to see the content, provide the main web address for the tool itself, such as

If you have multiple references for the same AI company/creator with the same year date, add a letter to the year (a, b, c, etc.). Doing this makes it clear which in-text citation matches which entry in the References.