APA Style Guidelines for citing ChatGPT

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, you’re aware of all the craze around generative AI and particularly around ChatGPT.
At the same time there’s been controversy around using ChatGPT in writing, especially in academic papers.

Turns out that back in April, the American Psychological Association (APA) posted a blog post on how to cite ChatGPT in papers written according to the APA style. (Which of all places, I found out through this Hacker News post.) The post is not exclusive to ChatGPT, but is applicable for citing any kind of textual output from generative AI.

If you’ve used ChatGPT, you’ll notice that its responses aren’t consistent or reproducible. These changes could be in part due to updates in the model, but it’s often the case that despite using the exact same prompts, different responses are generated. Apparently to tackle this problem, APA proposes including the full transcript with ChatGPT in the appendix, so that the readers are able to see the exact conversation.

That said, whether ChatGPT should be used as a factual source is doubtful because it’ll hallucinate in an authoritative manner, a bit like a compulsive liar. Unless the subject of the paper is about ChatGPT or other text-based generative AI.