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Generative AI

Referencing generative AI

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?

There are no specific guidelines for citing ChatGPT or other generative AI in Oxford style. This is interim advice only and subject to change.

We recommend that you base the reference for generative AI content on the referencing guidance for

  • Personal communication - if you are using generative AI to assist with your assignment.

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

This information is based on

Please check with your lecturer / subject coordinator in regards to the placement of your acknowledgement in your assignment.  If no guidance is given, place the acknowledgement between the title and the first paragraph of your assignment.

More information about generative artificial intelligence:


Name,  ‘Title of communication/subject’ [type of communication], date of correspondence, Name of Publisher.

ChatGPT, 'Plagiarism considerations when using generative AI' [Prompt for AI language model], 9 Mar. 2023, Open AI.

Bibliography  No entry in the bibliography
  • Since the information from generative AI is not recoverable, it is best cited as personal communications. As such it should not be included in the Bibliography.
  • Put all the details in a footnote.