Guidance for referencing Artificial Intelligence: update April 2023

Example: ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving technology, and there are no current guidelines on how to reference it. Therefore, this guidance may be subject to change. We recommend referring to this guidance should you need to reference AI again in the future.

Is it acceptable to use AI in my academic work?

Academic integrity is being honest in any work you do in your studies. The use of third parties (friends, essay mills or artificial intelligence) to create work you subsequently claim as your own is unacceptable. There are certain instances, however, where the use of AI may be permissible.

In all instances, please confirm with your tutor and refer to your assignment brief to establish if the use of artificial intelligence generated material such as ChatGPT is permissible and how they wish you to use it. If it is acceptable, you must acknowledge and appropriately reference all the content you use. Failure to do so may result in Academic Misconduct.

How to cite generative AI material (Harvard style)

 If it is already available online, you can cite it as an electronic version of a source (such as an artwork or article). 


In-text citation 

The AI-generated flower (Shutterstock AI, 2023) …

Reference list 

Shutterstock AI (2023) Photo of pond with lotus flower [Digital art]. Available at: (Accessed: 31 March 2023) 

How to cite AI generated text

The content produced by AI such as ChatGPT is classed as non-recoverable material. It is impossible for a reader to follow up or replicate (as it is not published) and only available to you. Therefore, it should be cited as a personal communication.

You should:

  • Note which terms you used to generate the response (to give context to your reader) and include it in the body of your text.
  • Confirm with your tutor if a screenshot in your appendices should also be included.


Example of in-text citation (Harvard style)

When asked ‘what is information literacy’? OpenAI’s ChatGPT (2023) response included the importance of evaluating information critically. A copy of this response is in appendix 1.

Reference List (Harvard style)
  • Name of generative AI authoring tool
  • (Year)
  • ‘Name of AI authoring tool’ response to ‘Name of person entering query’
  • Day, month, content was generated

OpenAI ChatGPT (2023) ChatGPT response to Tom Jones, 3 March.


Reference example (IEEE style).

In IEEE, personal communications are included as numbered in-text citations that match the corresponding reference list entry. Use the full name of the AI tool as the author.

Reference list
  • Reference number.
  • Author name,
  • private communication,
  • Year

1. OpenAI's ChatGPT, private communication, Feb. 2023


Reference example (APA style)

In the APA 7th style, personal communications are cited in the text only. You are not required to include it in the reference list.

In-text citation - (narrative citation):
  • Context of communication with Communicator (personal communication, Month Day, Year)
  • (Communicator, personal communication, Month Day, Year)

When asked to explain ..., OpenAI's ChatGPT's response included ... (personal communication, March 15, 2023)

In-text citation - (parenthetical citation):

 (OpenAI's ChatGPT, personal communication, February 22, 2023)


Reference example (MHRA style)

In MHRA, private communications are included as numbered in-text citations that match the corresponding footnote and bibliography. There is no need to include in the bibliography.

  1. OpenAI, ChatGPT’s response to Tom Jones, 14 March 2023