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AI generated content in APA style

APA source citation to AI content

More and more often, texts and images are generated by AI systems. Do you use such texts and images? Then it is also necessary to correctly attribute the source. How you do this depends on the citation style you use. Not all citation styles have guidelines for citing AI-related content yet, as developments in the field of AI are rapidly evolving. However, APA does provide guidelines for citing AI-generated content. On this page, you will find various examples.

Text and images generated using AI are not considered your own work. Therefore, you must attribute the source. However, it is not always clear what the specific sources of AI-generated content are, as in the case of ChatGPT. That content is generated from huge amounts of data. Therefore:

  • Refer to the AI model used, for example, ChatGPT.
  • Indicate the prompt (instruction) used.

If you are working within your education or field of study and following the APA citation style, adhere to it for citing AI-generated content as well. We explain this for AI-generated text and AI-generated images.

Note: The possibilities in the field of AI are rapidly evolving. APA continues to incorporate these developments into their guidelines. Keep an eye on the APA Style Blog on "How to cite ChatGPT (and other AI tools) " if you want to stay updated.


In-text citation

  • Parenthetical citation: (OpenAI, 2023)
  • Narrative citation: OpenAI (2023)

When using an AI tool for your assignment, include the following:

  • How you used AI in your work.
  • The prompt (instruction).
  • The generated text.

In the text, indicate which part was generated by ChatGPT, either with a quotation or a paraphrase, and mention the prompt (instruction) you provided. For example:

For formulating the problem statement, ChatGPT (OpenAI, 2023) was used with the prompt "...".

If you include the text generated by ChatGPT as an attachment, you only need to refer to the attachment in the text:

For formulating the problem statement, ChatGPT (OpenAI, 2023; see Appendix A) was used.

Reference list citation

Construct the citation for AI-generated text in your reference list as follows:

Developer. (Publication Year). Name of AI tool (Version Number or Date) [Type of AI model]. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from https://xxxxx

Example for the reference list:

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Version March 14, 2023) [Large language model]. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from

  • OpenAI is the developer of the AI tool ChatGPT.
  • In parentheses, include the date found at the bottom of the chat page.
  • In square brackets, include "Large language model." You do not need to translate this term, as it is also commonly used in Dutch.


For AI-generated images, you also need to provide a source attribution.

In-text citation

... in Figure X...

Caption above the figure

Figure X
Title of the figure

Caption below the figure

Note. Image generated with the prompt "..." by OpenAI, DALL-E, 2023 (

If the prompt is very long, you can include it in an appendix and modify the caption to:

Note. Image generated by OpenAI, DALL-E, 2023 (, see Appendix Y for the prompt.

The note may be in a smaller font size.

Reference list citation

Developer. (Publication Year). Name of AI tool (Version Number or Date) [Type of AI model]. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from http://xxxx or https://xxxxx

Like text, images are created using a written prompt. Therefore, for the description, use "Large language model":

OpenAI. (2023). DALL-E (Version 2) [Large language model]. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from

Published by  HvA Library 13 July 2023