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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 summer hours

Sun: 9:00am - 10:00pm
Mon-Thu: 7:30am - 10:00pm
Fri: 7:30am - 10:00pm
Sat: 9:00am - 8:00pm

Current semester hours

Art + Architecture Library summer hours

Sun: 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Mon-Fri: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Sat: Closed

Current semester hours

NVC Resource Center summer hours

Sun: Closed
Mon-Thu: 11:00am - 8:00pm
Fri: 11:00am - 6:30pm
Sat: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Current semester hours

Veterinary Medicine Library summer hours

Sun: Closed
Mon-Thu: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Fri: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Sat: 1:00pm - 6:00pm

Current semester hours