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Academic Integrity - Referencing, Citation & Avoiding Plagiarism: Common Knowledge

This guide explains what referencing and citation is and how to use the APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Vancouver Styles. It includes links to each style guide.

Common Knowledge

Common knowledge is knowledge that is known and accepted as true by members of a discipline. Here are some examples of common knowledge:


  • Water freezes on 0 degrees Celsius.


  • Mary Robinson was the first female president of Ireland.


  • Berlin is the capital of Germany.


Information that needs to be cited includes research undertaken by others, statistics, and ideas, interpretations or analyses of primary research or the work of others. Specific dates, numbers, or facts the reader would not know unless s/he had done the research also need to be cited.

If you are unsure if something is common knowledge or not, it is best to simply cite it. 

Common Knowledge is further explained on the Purdue University's Writing Lab.