Ask a Librarian
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
local: (727) 864-8337
How can you tell if something is common knowledge?
Can it be found in many different places?
Is it widely known by a lot of different people?
Only information that is widely available from a variety of sources-such as historic facts and geographic data-can be used without needing to cite the information and its author. If you still aren't sure, cite your source or check with your professor.
Examples of common knowledge:
- Dates of wars
- Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States
- Capitals of states and countries
- Columbus reached America in 1492
Don't be fooled:
Everything on the Internet is considered common knowledge - WRONG! Unless it is common knowledge, you must cite your source whether your source is found on the Internet or in print.
Information found in an encyclopedia is considered common knowledge - WRONG! Encyclopedias contain lots of information, some of which is common knowledge, and some which is not.
- Facts found in newspaper articles are considered common knowledge - WRONG! Newspaper articles of course do contain facts that are considered common knowledge, but not everything included in a newspaper article is common knowledge.
A Closer Look: Review the Scenario Below
|This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.|