In all types of research and scholarly writing, it is important to cite your sources in order to:
Readers may want to locate a source you have cited to verify the information or to learn more about the topic. A proper citation includes all of the information necessary for a reader to locate a source.
Scholarly writing is grounded in research. Citations allow you to demonstrate that your position is thoroughly researched.
Giving proper credit to those whose ideas, words, and thoughts you use is not only respectful to those authors, but is also often required to avoid plagiarism.
You may have heard people say that you do not have to cite your source when the information you include is “common knowledge.” But what is common knowledge?
Broadly speaking, common knowledge refers to information that the average, educated reader would accept as reliable without having to look it up. This includes:
However, what may be common knowledge in one culture, nation, academic discipline or peer group may not be common knowledge in another.
How do I determine if the information I am using is common knowledge?
To help you decide whether information can be considered common knowledge, ask yourself:
The best advice is: When in doubt, cite your source.
What is not Common Knowledge?
Plagiarism occurs when a student submits work in respect of which ideas or words are taken from another source and presented as if they are the student’s own, without appropriate acknowledgement of the original source. It is the act of presenting another’s materials as one’s own without appropriate acknowledgement that constitutes plagiarism, whether or not the student does so intentionally. Included in the concept of plagiarism are:
Note: A student who assists another student in an act or attempted act of academic misconduct will be considered to have committed an act of academic misconduct.