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Traps of common knowledge

  • What is it?
    • Generally speaking, you can regard something as common knowledge if you find the same information undocumented in at least five credible sources. Additionally, it might be common knowledge if you think the information you're presenting is something your readers will already know, or something that a person could easily find in general reference sources. But when in doubt, cite; if the citation turns out to be unnecessary, your teacher or editor will tell you.
      Purdue Owl
  • What it is not - other people's thoughts and research
  • What is common knowledge to you may not be common knowledge to me - know your audience
    • for instance in the tutorial from Acadia University, the date of Canada's independence is listed as common knowledge - the tutorial is from a Canadian university. This may be common knowledge to them, but not to us living here in the United States.
  • More likely facts than theories
  • Examples
    • Barack Obama is the president of the United States.
    • William Shakespeare is an English playwright.
    • Some whales do not have teeth.

Outside resources



Newman Library break hours

Sun, Dec 21: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Mon-Tues, Dec 22-23: 7:30am - 8:00pm
Wed, Dec 24: 7:30am - 12:00  noon
Thu-Thu, Dec 25 - Jan 1: Closed

Current semester hours

Art + Architecture Library break hours

Sun, Dec 21: Closed
Mon, Dec 22: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tues, Dec 23: 8:00am - 12:00 noon
Wed-Sun, Dec 24 - Jan 4: Closed

Current semester hours

NVC Resource Center break hours

Sun-Thu, Dec 21 - Jan 1: Closed

Current semester hours