Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT: Resources for Students

ChatGPT and Other Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)

ChatGPT is a large language model chatbot developed by the company OpenAI. It is trained to respond to a question or prompt in humanlike language. You can access it via their website or through apps on your cell phone. As students are curious about using ChatGPT for their assignments, this guide will help assist you in determining if it is appropriate to use in your academic work. If you have any other questions about ChatGPT feel free to reach out to us at Information on this subject is constantly changing as technology and university policies evolve in response to the profound impact of artificial intelligence (AI) so continue to check this guide and other sources of information about AI to ensure you are up to date prior to using it for your work.

Here are some common questions you might have about using generative AI in your coursework:

Can I use Generative AI for my coursework?

Always check with your instructor. Your instructor determines if the use of AI is acceptable or not. Often instructors will let you know if it is acceptable in your syllabus so ensure you have read it thoroughly. Do not assume that the absence of a written rule means that it is okay to use ChatGPT or other AI tools. If your instructor does not allow generative AI to be used and you choose to use it anyway, you are using an ‘unauthorized aid’ and are subject to academic penalty (University of Windsor Senate Bylaw 31). If you are permitted to use AI in your coursework, ensure you cite it according to the professor's instructions or by using the information about citation in this guide to ensure you maintain academic integrity.

Should I use Generative AI for my coursework?

You are responsible for the content of the work you submit to the university or elsewhere. The use of generative AI will not shield you from poor grades or academic misconduct if used improperly or uncritically. If you are permitted to use generative AI by your instructor, do not rely on the raw output of generative AI to stand for what you submit without understanding and revision (unless the assignment requires you to provide an unchanged response from the generative AI).

There may be advantages to using AI in your coursework. It can be helpful in brainstorming ideas for a topic, generating keywords for a search, explaining information in plainer language, translating text, and helping when you are suffering from writer’s block or struggling with a concept. Students have also found it useful in editing their work for clarity or grammar issues.

If you are allowed to use ChatGPT for an assignment, you should use it carefully and be aware of the following:

  • Currently, the free version of ChatGPT is not connected to the internet and is not able to do a live search of the web. Therefore, it can’t find specific articles if you try to search for them. Since the information it was built on ended in 2021, it may also contain out-of-date information. As of November 6, 2023, the paid version of ChatGPT, ChatGPT Plus has been updated to include information up to April 2023. Open AI says that this functionality will expand to all users in the near future.
  • If ChatGPT does not know the answer, it may provide plausible-sounding false information, a glitch known as hallucination. You must fact-check any information that any generative AI provides. In addition, when asked to provide citations and resources for research, it may provide fake citations or include citations that do not actually back up the information it has provided. A citation may include real elements such as authors and journal names, while the full citation it generates is fake. Always check citations carefully to ensure their accuracy and relevance and to avoid plagiarism. 
  • When asking a question or giving a prompt, your phrasing may contain bias that the program may use to shape its response. The responses may also include bias as the information that ChatGPT was trained on may contain the biases of the author. Always check your prompts and the program's responses for bias. 
  • You should also be aware that by signing up or using ChatGPT you agree to their privacy policy which allows them to share your information with third-party vendors and law enforcement and your prompts become part of their datasets.  Review their privacy policy to ensure you are comfortable with the way your information is used before using the technology.

How do I cite Generative AI if I have used it?

If you have verified that you are allowed to use ChatGPT in your assignments, you must cite it either according to your instructors’ instructions or, if none are given, according to the style guide you are using.  You should also acknowledge if you used it to help you brainstorm or outline your assignment even if you don’t use ideas or text generated by AI. Best practice recommends saving a copy of your transcript by taking a screenshot, saving a permalink, or saving it as a webpage file as ChatGPT conversations are not reproducible or linkable. Some citation guides recommend including the full-text transcript of your ChatGPT conversation as an appendix to your assignment. If this is not feasible, you should at least write down or make note of the prompt you entered as some instructors may require you to include it in the citation.

Citation style for generative AI in common style guides:

APA (7th Edition)

You should note somewhere in your paper, usually in the methods section, that you have used ChatGPT in your assignment and what you used it for. You can also include the text of your chat as an appendix to your assignment.

In Text Citation
(Name of Software Company, Year)
e.g. (OpenAI, 2023).

Reference List
Author/Name of Software company. (Year). Software Title (version). [type of software – in the case of ChatGPT - Large language model]. URL.
e.g. OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].

Chicago 17th Edition

Endnote or footnote
Text generated by [source], [Author], [Date]. URL. e.g. 1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, September 18, 2023.
If you haven’t included the prompt given to ChatGPT in the body of your assignment, you should include that in the reference.
e.g. 1. ChatGPT, response to “Write me a song about Taylor Swift,” OpenAI, September 18, 2023.

In Text Citation
(Author, Date)
e.g. (ChatGPT, September 18, 2023).
Chicago says to not include ChatGPT in your bibliography or reference list as chats are not saved so the reader won’t be able to check where exactly you got the information.


In-text Citation
(“First few words of description of prompt given to ChatGPT”)
e.g. (“Write me a song”)

Works Cited List
“Description of prompt given to ChatGPT” prompt. Software title, Version, Name of Software Company, D MON. YEAR, URL.
e.g. “Write me a song about Taylor Swift” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 18 Sep. 2023,


No specific guidance but cite as personal communication and/or non-recoverable data.

In-Text Citation
Type of communication, Communicator, Date  (Day Month Year)
E.g. (ChatGPT response, OpenAI, 20 September 2023) or “In an online chat with OpenAI’s ChatGPT (20 September 2023)…”
You can also include the prompt in your citation – e.g. (ChatGPT response, OpenAI, prompt for “Write me a song about Taylor Swift”, 20 September 2023).

Reference List
Do not include personal communication


IEEE does not consider AI-generated text a valid reference.

Best Practices

For more information, please visit the following University of Windsor sites:

References & Further Reading

Ask the MLA: How do I cite generative AI in MLA style? (2023, March 17). MLA Style Center.

ChatGPT. (2023, July 28). McGill Library.

ChatGPT and Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI): Finding information with ChatGPT – Considerations. (2023, August 10). UWaterloo Libraries.

Citation, Documentation of Source. (n.d.) The Chicago Manual of Style Online.

Generative AI and ChatGPT: How to Cite. (2023, September 5). UBC Library.

McAdoo, Timothy. How to cite ChatGPT. (2023, April 7). APA Style.

OpenAI [@OpenAI]. (2023, September 27). ChatGPT can now browse the internet to provide you with current and authoritative information, complete with direct links to sources. It is no longer limited to data before September 2021. Https:// [Tweet]. Twitter.

Open AI. (2023, March 23). ChatGPT Plugins.

OpenAI. (2022, November 30). Introducing ChatGPT.

Open AI. (2023, June 23). Privacy Policy.

Inspiration and content adapted from the following research guides, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 and Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License:

Research guide created by Annie Kavanagh. 


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