Skip to Main Content

Library Research Tutorial: Adapted from Canvas Course

This Research Guide runs through the same information as the Library Tutorial course in Canvas. Use this guide to quickly access that information without needing to log into Canvas, and use it as a refresher for the main points in the Canvas tutorial.

What Is Common Knowledge?

An idea or content borrowed from any source must be cited, unless it is considered common knowledge.

Common knowledge consists of historical or scientific facts that are widely accepted, and as such, require no citation in the body of a research paper.

The following would be considered examples of common knowledge:

  • The sun is 92 million miles from the earth.
  • The deepest spot in the Indian Ocean is 24,442 feet below the surface.
  • The Battle of Chattanooga was fought during November 23-25, 1863.
  • Dr. Seuss was a famous pen name of Theodor Geisel.

If you find the same fact uncited in two or more authoritative sources (like encyclopedias), you can reasonably assume that fact is considered common knowledge and does not require a citation in your paper.

Statistical findings (such as survey data) or statements that may be challenged by readers should be properly cited.