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Can I use generative AI for referencing?

Generative AI tools can be asked to provide references or citations – however these are often created based simply on what would look like a valid reference.  If you ask an AI tool to provide a list of references or readings, the list it provides may not be real.

How do I reference something created by generative AI?

For most referencing styles there are no specific guidelines for citing ChatGPT or other generative AI. 

We recommend that you base the reference for generative AI content on the referencing guidance for personal communication or correspondence or the nearest equivalent for your style.  Check the Academic Referencing Tool for advice on how to do this using your required or preferred style.  If you are still unsure, contact the Library for advice. 

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT cannot accurately cite their own sources.  Any references they provide may be false or non-existent – you should always check the original source for any references that are generated.  References should provide clear and accurate information for each source and should identify where they have been used in your work. 

Where you have used generative AI to assist you with your assignment, you usually should acknowledge this.  An acknowledgement might look something like this: 

Whilst the writing is my own and I take responsibility for all errors, ChatGPT was used to create the initial section structure for this essay. 

In other cases it may be more appropriate to acknowledge your use of generative AI tools in a way more akin to a “methods” section of a research paper: 

Initial text provided using ChatGPT. (2023, February 14). Prompt: “What procedures should be taken to avoid the mis-use of generative A.I. in education”. 


First draft of introduction generated by Microsoft Word Editor Summary tool. (2023, February 14). 

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