APA 7th Referencing: Generative AI

Referencing generative artificial intelligence (AI) in learning and research

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) language models (such as ChatGPT, Copilot, Midjourney) respond to natural language text inputs and are designed to generate human-like text or image responses. 

The  updated VU Academic Integrity Policy provides a definition of Artificial Intelligence and, in Part C of the Policy lists "The use of artificial intelligence models to generate any of the above without acknowledging the use of the model." as a form of plagiarism. 

Student Guidelines for using text generating tools in your work and Staff Guidelines are provided within the accompanying Academic Integrity Guidelines.

Only use these tools if explicitly directed to do so by your VU academic as part of your learning or research experience. If in doubt, check with the relevant teaching staff member or research supervisor. Using these tools without permission may be considered an Academic Integrity breach.
When permitted to use AI in your work, it is essential that you:

  • understand the limitations of the technology and the risks of using it, for example:
    • generative AI can produce incorrect or fabricated output
    • generative AI output can contain ethically questionable content
    • generative AI output does not consider how certain words, phrases or images can cause harm to sectors of our community, such as First Nations students and staff
    • generative AI output contains no references, and if asked to create references they may be incorrect or fabricated
  • critically evaluate any output it produces, as you would with any other academic source

Any output from a generative AI Program/App used in your work must be clearly cited using the conventions of your referencing style.

"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. https://apastyle.apa.org/blog/how-to-cite-chatgpt 

Refer to APA Blog post "How to cite ChatGPT" for further information 

Updated: 13 April 2023

APA 7th referencing style example

"The in-text citations and references above are adapted from the reference template for software in Section 10.10 of the Publication Manual (American Psychological Association, 2020, Chapter 10)" https://apastyle.apa.org/blog/how-to-cite-chatgpt 

  • Narrative Citation: Communicator (Year)
  • Parenthetical Citation: (Communicator, Year)

In the case of generative AI, the Communicator will be the creator of the software or app. For example with ChatGPT the communicator will be the software creator, OpenAI. 

The following format examples are from the APA Blog post. Refer to the Blog post for further information regarding the elements of the citation: author, date, title and source.

In-text example:

Narrative Citation: Open AI (2023)

Parenthetical Citation: (OpenAI, 2023)

Reference list:

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat


Updated: 13 April 2023