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Common knowledge

If something is ‘common knowledge’, you don’t have to reference it. This means you have to rely on your judgement. A few rules of thumb you can use (which won’t always work; most rules don’t work 100% of the time) are:

  • Information that can be found everywhere is common knowledge - when someone famous was born, the size of the earth, the dates of the world wars.

  • Information that most people would know as general knowledge counts as common knowledge too.

Some people go further and say that anything all your readers would know does not have to be referenced, but this is not necessarily true, especially if you’re writing for a specific audience. Best to reference anything you are unsure about.

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