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How to Cite ChatGPT – Format & Examples

Published by at May 3rd, 2023 , Revised On August 25, 2023

If you’re an academic writer, you know that citing sources is crucial to the credibility and reliability of your work. But have you ever considered how a language model like ChatGPT can help you generate original, high-quality content? Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can provide writers with human-like responses to a vast range of prompts. 

Its importance in academic writing lies in its ability to assist writers in producing authentic and trustworthy content. In this article, we provide you with comprehensive guidelines on how to cite ChatGPT in different writing styles, so you can ensure that your work is properly cited and plagiarism-free. So, let’s explore the world of ChatGPT and see how it can benefit your academic writing!

APA Style

When citing ChatGPT in APA style, there are a few rules you need to follow to ensure that your work is properly cited and authentic. First and foremost, you should include the author or creator of the ChatGPT model, which in this case is OpenAI. Secondly, you need to specify the date of the ChatGPT model you used and the version number. Finally, you should also provide the URL of the ChatGPT model you used.

If you are citing a communication from ChatGPT, such as an email or chat message, you should follow the rules above but with a few additional details. You should include the name of the sender and recipient of the communication, as well as the date and time of the message.


For example, if you were citing a reference for a chat message from ChatGPT in an APA-style paper, it would look something like this:


OpenAI. (2021, July 15). GPT-3: Language models are few-shot learners. “What is academic writing?” Retrieved from https://openai.com/chat/

We can cite in-text citations like this in the text: (ChatGPT, personal communication, March 23, 2023).

MLA Style

When it comes to citing ChatGPT in MLA style, there are specific guidelines you need to follow to ensure your work is properly cited and trustworthy. These guidelines involve providing important information such as the ChatGPT model’s creator (OpenAI), the name and version number of the model, and the date and URL of access.

Suppose you’re citing a communication from ChatGPT, like a chat message or email. In that case, you’ll need to include additional information, such as the names of the sender and recipient, the communication’s title, the communication’s date, and the communication’s medium.

To help illustrate how to cite ChatGPT communication in MLA style properly, we’ve provided an example citation that includes all the necessary details.


Prompt: Write a research paper on the impact of artificial intelligence on the job market.


“Write a research paper on the impact of artificial intelligence on the job market” prompt. ChatGPT, 23 March. Version, OpenAI, 16 Feb. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.

In-text citation:

According to OpenAI, “language models like ChatGPT are few-shot learners” (1).

Note: In the in-text citation, the number “1” refers to the corresponding entry in the Works Cited page. You must adjust the number if you have multiple sources cited in your paper.

Chicago Style

If you’re writing a research paper or academic article, citing your sources is a crucial part of the process. Not only does it give credit to the original authors, but it also allows readers to find the sources themselves and verify the information. When citing chatGPT in Chicago style, the key is to follow the guidelines for citing online sources. 

This involves providing the necessary information, such as the author or institution responsible for the content, the title of the page, and the date it was published or last updated. It’s also important to include the access date, and the date you retrieved the information, to ensure that readers can find the same version of the page you used for your research. 

To cite ChatGPT in Chicago style, you would start with the author or organization responsible for the content, followed by the webpage’s title and publication date. Then, you would include the date you accessed the information and the URL.  By following these guidelines, you can provide accurate and trustworthy citations for your readers.


For example, if you were citing a reference from ChatGPT in a Chicago format paper, it would look something like this:


For a citation of an article text generated by ChatGPT:

Text generated by ChatGPT, March 23, 2023, OpenAI, https://chat.openai.com/chat. ChatGPT

For a citation of a chat conversation with ChatGPT:

ChatGPT. “Conversation with a Language Model.” Conversation with the author, 2 May 2023.

For a citation that includes a prompt with ChatGPT:

While you are using the prompt for content, “Text generated by ChatGPT,” the date you prompted it, “OpenAI,” and the URL

ChatGPT, response to “Why academic writing is important,” May 02, 2023, https://chat.openai.com/chat.

Note that for the second example, it’s important to include the phrase “Conversation with the author” to indicate that the chat occurred between you and ChatGPT. Additionally, the access date for this citation would be the date you retrieved the chat conversation.

Harvard Style

Harvard style is a popular citation style used in academic writing, and it has specific rules for citing different sources, including chatGPT. When citing chatGPT in Harvard style, you should include the author’s name, year of publication, the title of the article, and the date you accessed the source. If there is no author, use the organization name that published the article instead.

If you cite a direct quote or paragraph from chatGPT, include the page or paragraph number where the quote can be found. In Harvard style, citations are typically included in parentheses within the body of the text, with a full reference list at the end of the paper.


If you are adding several citations in your Harvard-style paper, it will look like this:


If the article has no author, you will cite the organization for that AI tool or software that write the article for you, i.e. “Open.AI,” for if you generate a blog/article with chatGPT:

(OpenAI, 2023)

In-text citation: (ChatGPT, 2023)

This citation format is used when citing a specific point or piece of information within the text of your paper. In this example, “ChatGPT” is the author or organization responsible for the chatbot, and “2023” is the year the conversation occurred.

While adding a reference citation:

ChatGPT. (2023) “How to Cite ChatGPT in Different Writing Styles.” Chat conversation.

This citation format is used when creating a full bibliography or reference list at the end of your paper. The citation includes the author or organization responsible for the chatbot, the year the conversation took place, the title of the chat conversation, and the medium (in this case, chat conversation).

Vancouver Style

Adhering to specific citation styles is crucial when citing sources in academic writing. In the Vancouver style, sources are cited using numbers in the text, corresponding to a numbered reference list at the end of the document. To cite ChatGPT in Vancouver style, include a number in a superscript format in the text at the point where the information or quote is used, and then include the corresponding numbered reference in the reference list. 

The reference should include the author, the title of the article or webpage, the website title, the date accessed, and the URL. It’s important to note that the webpage’s title or article should be used in the citation if no author is listed. Always consult the Vancouver style guide for specific rules and guidelines when citing sources.


If you are adding several citations in your Vancouver-style paper, it will look like this:


In-text citation:

ChatGPT (2021) states that artificial intelligence has significantly impacted the healthcare industry.

Reference list:

ChatGPT. Language Models and Human-like Responses. 2022. Available from: https://www.chatgpt.com/language-models/. [Accessed May 02, 2023].

In Vancouver style, the in-text citation consists of a number in parentheses corresponding to the numbered reference list at the end of the document. The reference list should include the author, title of the source, date of publication, and URL or DOI (if applicable) of the source.

IEEE Style

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) style is a commonly used referencing style in engineering and technology fields. When citing ChatGPT in IEEE style, you must include the author’s name, the title of the article, the publication date, and the URL of the webpage where the article is located. If there is no publication date, use “n.d.” instead of the year. Additionally, if the article has a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), include it at the end of the citation.


Here is an example of how to cite ChatGPT in IEEE style:


ChatGPT. (2021, September). OpenAI’s ChatGPT: A Revolution in Language AI. [Online]. Available: https://openai.com/blog/chat-gpt/

In the above example, “ChatGPT” is the author, “OpenAI’s ChatGPT: A Revolution in Language AI” is the title of the article, “2021, September” is the publication date, and “https://openai.com/blog/chat-gpt/” is the URL. Since this example doesn’t have a DOI, one is not included. Always check with your professor or journal editor to ensure you are using the correct citation style.

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Why is There a Need to Cite ChatGPT?

Understanding when and how to cite sources in your work is important. Regarding ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI, the question of whether to cite it depends on the context of your writing.

If you’re using ChatGPT as a reference for your work, giving credit where credit is due is important. This means citing ChatGPT in your bibliography or works cited page. However, citing it may not be necessary if you’re using ChatGPT to help you generate ideas or answer questions.

Ultimately, the decision to cite ChatGPT depends on the expectations of your audience and the guidelines provided by your institution. When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and include a citation to ensure that you’re giving proper credit to the source of your information.

While it’s not always necessary to cite ChatGPT, it’s important to be mindful of the context of your writing and the expectations of your audience. Properly citing your sources ensures that your work is ethical, credible, and trustworthy.

Can ChatGPT Cite Sources?

Some users have asked ChatGPT to provide citations for the information it uses in its replies due to their own interest in the topic. It makes an effort to do so when requested, sometimes providing actual sources and other times providing sources that don’t appear to exist.

This is likely due to ChatGPT’s design; the neural network learns from examples given to it and then reproduces those examples in new texts without actively seeking for new information. It is limited to using sources from its training data, cannot utilize other sources like the internet, and is not particularly aware of the specific sources it draws on to form each response.

Some users have attempted to use ChatGPT as a citation generator by asking it to cite specific sources or insert citations into their work automatically, but this has proven difficult. It is for this reason that it is not recommended to make use of ChatGPT for the purpose of citing sources. 

The Bottom Line

This article provides comprehensive guidelines on properly citing ChatGPT, a language model developed by OpenAI, in different writing styles to ensure that academic writing is properly cited. The article provides examples of APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard styles. 

In APA style, the author or creator of the model (OpenAI), the date of the model, and the URL must be included. For MLA style, the citation should include the creator (OpenAI), the model name and version number, the date and URL of access, and additional details for communication from ChatGPT. 

In Chicago style, the citation must follow the guidelines for citing online sources and provide the author or institution responsible for the content, title, publication date, access date, and URL. The citation must include the author or creator, date, title, version number, and URL in Harvard style.

Frequently Asked Questions

ChatGPT gets its data through a two-step process: pre-training and fine-tuning. Pre-training involves exposure to a wide range of internet text, while fine-tuning narrows it down using human-reviewed prompts. The model doesn’t know specifics about which documents were in its training set.

About Owen Ingram

Avatar for Owen IngramIngram is a dissertation specialist. He has a master's degree in data sciences. His research work aims to compare the various types of research methods used among academicians and researchers.