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Using Generative AI in Research

This Research Guide provides information on the use of Generative AI in academic papers and research, and provides guidance on the ethical use of Generative AI in an academic setting.

On using Generative AI in your Research Paper

Generative AI tools are evolving rapidly, and it can be challenging to keep up with the developments.

The citation information provided below will be updated on a regular basis but please make sure to check for the date it was last updated and check other sources if you feel there may be more current information available. With this rapidly changing environment, we will do our best to stay up to date but cannot guarantee that this Research Guide always has all most recent updates.

Before using Generative AI tools in your research paper, check with your instructor about their policy on using and citing AI for their course work.

Please also be aware that tools such as ChatGPT may refer to other resources, but that these resources may not actually exist and are "made up". Do not rely on the information provided by Generative AI; do your due diligence of "fact checking" when using information provided by AI.

Citation Styles for AI: MLA

From the MLA Style Center (MLA Handbook 9th Edition)

 

You should

  • cite a generative AI tool whenever you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it 
  • acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location 
  • take care to vet the secondary sources it cites 

See below for specific examples. And keep in mind: the MLA template of core elements is meant to provide flexibility in citation. So if you find a rationale to modify these recommendations in your own citations, we encourage you to do so. We’ve opened this post up for commenting, so let us know what you think and how you’re using and citing generative AI tools!

Using the MLA Template

Author
We do not recommend treating the AI tool as an author. This recommendation follows the policies developed by various publishers, including the MLA’s journal PMLA

Title of Source
Describe what was generated by the AI tool. This may involve including information about the prompt in the Title of Source element if you have not done so in the text. 

Title of Container
Use the Title of Container element to name the AI tool (e.g., ChatGPT).

Version
Name the version of the AI tool as specifically as possible. For example, the examples in this post were developed using ChatGPT 3.5, which assigns a specific date to the version, so the Version element shows this version date.

Publisher
Name the company that made the tool.

Date
Give the date the content was generated.

Location
Give the general URL for the tool.

Example for paraphrasing:

Paraphrasing:
While the green light in The Great Gatsby might be said to chiefly symbolize four main things: optimism, the unattainability of the American dream, greed, and covetousness (“Describe the symbolism”), arguably the most important—the one that ties all four themes together—is greed.

Works-Cited-List Entry
“Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.
 

Example for quoting:

Quoting:
When asked to describe the symbolism of the green light in The Great GatsbyChatGPT provided a summary about optimism, the unattainability of the American dream, greed, and covetousness. However, when further prompted to cite the source on which that summary was based, it noted that it lacked “the ability to conduct research or cite sources independently” but that it could “provide a list of scholarly sources related to the symbolism of the green light in The Great Gatsby” (“In 200 words”).

Works-Cited-List Entry
“In 200 words, describe the symbolism of the green light in The Great Gatsby” follow-up prompt to list sources. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 9 Mar. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.

 

Please refer to MLA Style Center for more examples for paraphrasing text, quoting text, citing creative visual works, quoting creative textual works, and citing secondary sources created by an AI tool.

Last updated: 6/21/23

Citation Styles for AI: APA



APA currently recommends discussing how you used ChatGPT or other AI tools for research in the method section of your paper. For literature reviews or other types of response or reaction papers, APA recommends describing how you used the tool in your introduction section.

In your paper, provide the prompt you used as well as the relevant result that was created.

Example:
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).

Reference

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


You may also want to add the full text generated by AI in an appendix or online supplemental materials.

Example:
When given a follow-up prompt of “What is a more accurate representation?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that “different brain regions work together to support various cognitive processes” and “the functional specialization of different regions can change in response to experience and environmental factors” (OpenAI, 2023; see Appendix A for the full transcript).

Reference

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

 

Source: "How to Cite ChatGPT". American Psychological Association, APA Blog. Retrieved from How to cite ChatGPT (apa.org) on 6/23/2023. 

Citation Styles for AI: Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style Online recommends that a numbered footnote or endnote in a research paper follows this example:

1. Text generated by ChatGPT, March 7, 2023, OpenAI, https://chat.openai.com/chat.

If the prompt hasn’t been included in the text, it can be included in the note:

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

If you’re using author-date instead of notes, any information not in the text would be placed in a parenthetical text reference. For example, “(ChatGPT, March 7, 2023).”

But don’t cite ChatGPT in a bibliography or reference list. Though OpenAI assigns unique URLs to conversations generated from your prompts, those can’t be used by others to access the same content (they require your login credentials), making a ChatGPT conversation like an email, phone, or text conversation—or any other type of personal communication (see CMOS 14.214 and 15.53).

To sum things up, you must credit ChatGPT when you reproduce its words within your own work, but that information should be put in the text or in a note—not in a bibliography or reference list. Other AI-generated text can be cited similarly.

 

Source: The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Retrieved from FAQ Item (chicagomanualofstyle.org) on 6/23/2023