The use of artificial tools (AI) in your assessments may or may not be permissible. It is important to consult your course outline or discuss with your relevant course coordinator to determine whether AI tools are permitted, and to what degree they may be used. 

How to Cite, Reference or Acknowledge Use of AI Tools in Your Work

If you are using AI outputs in your work as part of your assessment, please adhere to the following:

  1. If you are quoting, paraphrasing or summarising material directly from an AI tool, cite this information as you would any other source. This includes an in-text citation or footnote (depending on your referencing system). 
  2. If you have been given permission to use AI tools to edit or translate your work, acknowledge this by providing a brief acknowledgment statement at the end of your document. 
  3. If you are unsure whether you need to reference an AI tool you have used, you should consult your relevant course convenor/tutor or supervisor. You may also book an appointment with the Academic Skills team to discuss.

RECOMMENDATION: Generative AI tools are not high-quality sources. Relying on information provided by an AI tool could reflect poorly on the quality of your academic work. For this reason, we suggest avoiding using a generative AI tool like ChatGPT as a primary source for factual information.   

We suggest citing AI tools as a 'software' whereby the company is considered the author and the software is the product's name.

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Examples of AI Referencing

Citation Style



Harvard (UNSW)

Company. Year, Product Name in italics, [Type of AI model], Retrieved Month Day, Year, from URL.

OpenAI. 2023, ChatGPT [Large language model], Retrieved October 19, 2023, from

APA (7th edition)

Name of Company/creator of generative AI Tool. (Year). Name of generative AI tool (Month Date version) [Large language model]. URL.

OpenAI. 2023, ChatGPT (June 16 version) [Large language model].

Chicago (17th edition)

Number. Originator of the communication, medium, Day Month, Year.

1. OpenAI's ChatGPT AI language model, response to question from author, 7 February, 2023.


[Citation number] Author (Program Name), response to author query. Publisher [Online]. URL, (Accessed date).

[1] ChatGPT, response to author query. OpenAI [Online]. (accessed February 15, 2023).


“Title of source” prompt. Name of AI Tool, version, Company, Date content was generated, URL.

“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,


Company Name, personal communication, Day Month Year.

(OpenAI, personal communication, 20 September 2023)


[Citation number] Author (Program Name), response to author query. Publisher [Online]. URL, (Accessed date).

Citation: [1] ChatGPT, response to author query. OpenAI [Online]. (accessed February 15, 2023).


In-Text Citation: Powerful research tools lead to better results (OpenAI's ChatGPT, private communication, 10 October 2023).


If you have any questions about this resource unanswered below, contact the Academic Skills team or book an individual consultation with an Academic Learning Facilitator for support.

What is the UNSW policy on plagiarism for AI use?

Referencing is a way to acknowledge sources you have used in your writing. This may include books, journal articles, websites, newspaper articles, personal communication, and more recently, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and technologies. Failure to reference correctly can result in plagiarism.

According to the UNSW plagiarism policycopying material from other sources without acknowledgment, as well as incorrectly paraphrasing (changing a few words around while retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas) are both grounds for plagiarismThis means that if you use outputs generated by AI in your assessment, you must cite and attribute this information accordingly.

Do I need to acknowledge generative AI tools like ChatGPT if I have used them?

Yes. At university, it is important to let others know where you get your information and who authored the work. This is so others can ensure the work is yours and can locate and verify the sources you are using. If AI outputs (text generated by AI) feature in your work, you need to flag this material with proper referencing acknowledging that AI tools have been used. 

Is ChatGPT a reliable source?

Thinking about generative AI tools like ChatGPT as a source like any other can be problematic. Large language models like ChatGPT use a multitude of data to inform its outputs, and in some cases, the information these tools provide may not be up-to-date or accurate.

AI tools may also, unknowingly, plagiarise other sources, meaning it may not have correctly cited or attributed original author(s). In addition, these tools might suggest sources that look and sound legitimate, but are in fact fake. These are known as "hallucinations". 

You should never rely on generative AI outputs as a source for high-quality information. In fact, you should assume all AI outputs are incorrect until proven otherwise.

Why is it important to cite AI tools?

It is important to cite and acknowledge the use of AI tools if you have used them as part of an assessment. This helps to ensure the academic integrity of your work.

If parts of your work have been detected as ‘AI generated’, referencing this material appropriately does not necessarily guarantee you won’t have breached academic integrity guidelines. If you have used an AI tool’s output in your work and are unsure whether to cite it, it is always better to reference this material rather than leave it unacknowledged.

Should I cite AI tools if I have not included any outputs in my work?

When using AI tools in academic work, it's crucial to acknowledge their impact on your research and ideas for the sake of academic integrity. This includes any significant assistance from AI, such as clarifying concepts, identifying literature, or influencing the research direction, regardless of whether AI-generated content is directly quoted.

Acknowledging AI contributions maintains transparency and integrity, whether they've provided content, influenced themes and arguments, or supported research and analysis.

Should I cite an AI tool if I have used it for editing my work?

Before using AI to edit your work, make sure you have been given permission to do so. If an AI tool has changed or altered your work in any way, or you have included its suggestions as part of your final submission, you should acknowledge the use of AI with a brief acknowledgement statement.

Ultimately, you are responsible for the work you submit, and the suggestions made by AI tools may not always be accurate or reflect the quality of your ideas. When it is allowable to do so and you have used AI tools to edit, alter, or translate your work, you should also acknowledge this with a brief statement under your reference list or at the bottom of the document.

Example of an acknowledgment:

I would like to acknowledge the assistance provided by [Name of AI tool] which offered editorial suggestions. Some examples of prompts I used include [list prompts here].  

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