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Word-for-Word Plagiarism

Word for word plagiarism occurs when a text or parts of it are copied verbatim from an original work without acknowledging the author. The lack of quotation marks at the beginning and end of a short passage, or indention for a longer one is considered plagiarism. The use of a citation, a footnote, or an endnote only indicates that the information has a source, but lacks to acknowledge that the original words from the author are being used. Either quotation marks or block indention must be used when the original work is copied word for word.

The following examples will provide students' versions of original materials and an analysis of those versions in terms of plagiarism. 

  • Example 1: Word-for-Word Plagiarism
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version
    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner (Bierema, 2000).

    Source:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • Note that the author is cited -Bierema 2000- in the student's version (APA style). However, the paragraph should be in quotation marks as the author's words are used verbatim.
    • Including a reference (APA style) has no use if the author has not been cited in the text.
  • Example 2: Word-for-Word Plagiarism (Mosaic)

    The mosaic type of plagiarism refers to the blending of original material with students' words without giving credit to the author of the original.

     

    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

     

    Workforce development is more closely linked to job performance than to larger educational goals. Some business environments are inhospitable to learning and business goals fail to serve the learner, although competitive edge is gained with the human capital and not with technological advances.

    Source:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • In the student's version, note that the source is not cited in the paragraph with an in-text citation, footnote, or endnote.
    • Phrases identical to the original are woven with the student's words (mosaic). The identical phrases are not quoted to give credit to the source.
    • A reference is provided (APA style) but the source is not acknowledged in the paragraph.
  • Example 3: Word-for-Word Plagiarism (Mosaic)

    The mosaic type of plagiarism refers to the blending of original material with students' words without giving credit to the author of the original.

     

    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

     

    Workforce development is more closely linked to job performance than to larger educational goals. Some business environments are inhospitable to learning and business goals fail to serve the learner, although competitive edge is gained with the human capital and not with technological advances.

    Source:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • The rewording of ideas does not justify the absence of a citation in the text. The ideas are the author's and credit must be given.
    • Phrases from the source are copied verbatim and woven with the student's words (mosaic) without giving credit to the author.
    • Including a reference (APA style) has no use if the author has not been cited in the text.
  • Example 4: Word-for-Word - Correct Version
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

     

    "Workforce development" is more closely linked to job performance than to larger educational goals. Some business environments are "inhospitable to learning" and business goals "fail to serve the learner", although "competitive edge" is gained with the human capital and not with technological advances (Bierema, 2000, p. 278).

    Source:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • Note the citation at the end of the paragraph (APA style) -Bierema, 2000, p. 278-
    • The original expressions are quoted, and the reference is provided (APA style).
  • Example 5: Word-for-Word - Correct Version
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

     

    Bierema (2000) affirms that although corporations are important in employees' education, "many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner." (p. 278).

    Source:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • Note that quotation marks are used to indicate the original words of the author.
    • The name, year of publication, and page number are indicated in the paragraph (APA style) to acknowledge credit to the source as the author's words are copied verbatim.
    • A reference is also provided (APA style).
  • Example 6: Word-for-Word - Correct Version
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

     

    The corporate world represents a major influence in employees' education as Bierema (2000) affirms that

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained (p. 278).

    Source:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • Note the indented block to indicate that this portion of the text is a word for word quotation (no need for quotation marks).
    • Indented blocks are used when the quote is 40 words or more.
    • The name of the author, year of publication, and page number in the text (APA style) are indicated to acknowledge the source.
    • A reference is also provided (APA style).
  • Example 7: Word-for-Word - Plagiarism
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

    Employers are more interested in human resource development because people represent a competitive advantage to meet their goals. Everyday, business plays a more important role in workforce development towards those same goals. 

    Source:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:
    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • The text has been reorganized using the author's words and ideas but no citation is provided.
    • Providing a reference (APA style) is not enough, a citation must be also in the paragraph. References are used ONLY if the author is cited in the text.

Word-for-Word Plagiarism in Spoken Words

Plagiarism occurs when another person's spoken words are not quoted or acknowledged whether those words have been expressed in a class, a conference, an informal conversation, or an interview.

  • Example 1: Conference - Plagiarism
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    When you are marketing your image, you are a walking advertisement as every action defines your brand. Your office space also reaffirms your brand so attention must be paid to its layout and the resources placed in it like books, magazines, or newspapers.

    Your appearance must match the image you are attempting to create. Also, communications must be positive or solution focused in voicemails, emails, and memos.

    It is often said that every person is a walking advertisement of his or her own brand. If this is so, then I consider that attention must be paid to every action that defines such a brand. For example, the office space, including its layout and the resources in it like books or magazines, reaffirms a person's brand.

    Source:
    Love, S. P. (2004, October). Creating raving fans by marketing the brand called you. Presentation conducted at the monthly meeting of The Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

    Analysis:

    • Note that the student is using ideas and words from the conference's authorwithout acknowledging the source.
    • The student is presenting other's ideas as his/her own.
  • Example 2: Conference - Correct use
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    When you are marketing your image, you are a walking advertisement as every action defines your brand. Your office space also reaffirms your brand so attention must be paid to its layout and the resources placed in it like books, magazines, or newspapers.

    Your appearance must match the image you are attempting to create. Also, communications must be positive or solution focused in voicemails, emails, and memos.

    If a person is a brand in itself, Love (2004) advises us that every move we make serves to shape that brand: from the books we display in our offices to our appearance and ways of communicating. Every aspect of ourselves is a reflection of our own brand.

    Source:
    Love, S. P. (2004, October). Creating raving fans by marketing the brand called you. Presentation conducted at the monthly meeting of The Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

    Reference:
    Love, S. P. (2004, October). Creating raving fans by marketing the brand called you. Presentation conducted at the monthly meeting of The Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

    Analysis:

    • Note that the student provides an in-text citation (APA style) to give credit to the source of ideas and words presented: Love, 2004.
    • In this case, the source is some material presented at a conference.
    • A reference is also provided (APA style).

Insufficient Acknowledgement

This type of plagiarism occurs when the author of a text is partially acknowledged. The author is given credit for only some ideas or words while the student submits the rest of the author's ideas as his/her own. Insufficient acknowledgment also occurs when either the citation or the reference is incomplete so it is impossible for the reader to go directly to the source for more information.

  • Example 1: Insufficient Acknowledgement - Plagiarism
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    There is a new term on the horizon: 'mobile entrepreneurs'. For the most part, mobile entrepreneurs are professionals who start their own businesses, using the skills, knowledge, and contacts they accumulated in previous jobs. Many establish themselves as independent consultants, while others continue to work for the same company but perform their jobs from their homes.

     

    Some professionals, after years of working as employees in corporations, decide to embark on entrepreneurship, mostly as private consultants (Tieger & Barron-Tieger, 2001). That is to say, that these professionals have enough skills, knowledge, and contacts acquired in previous positions to make them decide to start their own business.

    Source:
    Tieger, Paul D. & Barron-Tieger, B. (2001). Do what you are. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company.

    Reference:
    Tieger, Paul D. & Barron-Tieger, B. (2001). Do what you are. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company.

    Analysis:

    • Although the source is cited in the text and a reference is provided (APA style), the writer acknowledges the author ONLY for the ideas in the first sentence, but fails to give credit for the following ideas that are also borrowed.
  • Example 2: Insufficient Acknowledgement - Plagiarism
    Original Source MaterialStudent's Version

     

    There is a new term on the horizon: 'mobile entrepreneurs'. For the most part, mobile entrepreneurs are professionals who start their own businesses, using the skills, knowledge, and contacts they accumulated in previous jobs. Many establish themselves as independent consultants, while others continue to work for the same company but perform their jobs from their homes.

     

    Tieger and Barron-Tieger found that some professionals, after years of working as employees in corporations, decide to embark on entrepreneurship, mostly as private consultants. These professionals have enough skills, knowledge, and contacts acquired in previous positions to make them decide to start their own business.

    Source:
    Tieger, Paul D. & Barron-Tieger, B. (2001). Do what you are. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company.

    Reference:
    Tieger, Paul D. & Barron-Tieger, B. Do what you are. 

    Analysis:

    • Note that the student is mentioning a source for the information, but no citation is given.
    • The student is not providing the reader with complete information about the source, either in the text or in the reference, and assuming that the audience is familiar with the information.

     

Visual Materials

Plagiarism occurs when the sources of statistics, graphs, drawings, or charts are not acknowledged whether the source of information is the Internet, a printed source, or any other medium.

  • Example 1: Use of Charts - Correct Use

     

    In my opinion, the presence of immigrants in Florida seems to be more accepted each year by Floridians. As the above chart indicates, the opinions towards immigration from 1989 to 2002 tend to be more favorable with each passing year, although a majority still thinks that immigration is a bad thing for the state.

    Source:
    Florida poll chart on the opinion about the number of people moving to Florida from other countries 1999-2002, prepared by the FIU/Florida poll, Florida International University at http://ipor.fiu.edu/

    Reference:
    1 Florida poll chart on the opinion about the number of people moving to Florida from other countries 1999-2002, prepared by the FIU/Florida poll, Florida International University at http://ipor.fiu.edu/

    Analysis:

    • Note the citing of the source of the chart using a footnote as the student is using the chart to support the ideas presented.
    • The text reflects the student's personal ideas supported by an interpretation of the chart cited using a footnote.

     

  • Example 2: Use of Charts - Plagiarism

     

    I personally think that today an ongoing debate revolves around who is responsible for health care coverage. As the above chart indicates, the opinions of the voters tend to charge the responsibility to the Government more so than to the employers.

    Source:
    Florida poll chart on the opinion about the number of people moving to Florida from other countries 1999-2002, prepared by the FIU/Florida poll, Florida International University at http://ipor.fiu.edu/



    Analysis:

    • Note that the source of the chart is NOT mentioned. The reader does not know where the chart comes from.
    • Although the text is a personal opinion supported by an interpretation of the chart, a citation of the chart as a source of information must be provided.
  • Example 3: Use of Visual Images - Plagiarism

    Globalization has given primacy to economic structures, and adult learning related to job creation or market adaptations has expanded dramatically in the past ten years. At the same time, the social demand for adult education has also expanded dramatically but is not being responded to as fully.

    Adult learning in relation to job creation has expanded considerably in the past ten years as globalization emphasizes economic structures. The demand for adult education in today's society has increased given the many applications of this discipline (Hall, 2001).

    Source:
    Florida poll chart on the opinion about the number of people moving to Florida from other countries 1999-2002, prepared by the FIU/Florida poll, Florida International University at http://ipor.fiu.edu/

     

    Reference:
    Hall, B. L. (2001). The politics of globalization: Transformative practice in adult education graduate programs. In R. M. Cervero & A. L. Wilson (Eds.), Power in practice: Adult education and the struggle for knowledge and power in society (pp. 107-125). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • Note that the passage ends with a citation of the author (APA style).
    • The main ideas of the paragraph are expressed in different words, but the argument is the same as the author's. Credit is given to the source.
    • A reference is also provided (APA style).
    • However, note that the source of the picture is not mentioned. The reader does not know where the picture comes from. A reference for the picture must be provided.
  • Example 4: Use of Visual Images - Correct Version

    For the three-story, 40,000-square-foot Frost Art Museum, Weymouth has dreamed up several distinctive features that he hopes will "indicate a way forward in museum design in Florida." He has drafted an impressive glass-atrium entrance that visitors will remember for its immediate, clear view to the lake and native trees behind the building. To bring indoors a bit of South Florida's famous and abundant sunshine, he has developed a program that incorporates natural lighting - the very condition under which most artwork is created.

    Photograph of the Museum architectural design by Weymouth in the FIU Magazine 2003 online at http://news.fiu.edu/fiumag/
    fall2003/art_museum1.htm

    According to FIU Magazine (2003), Weymouth, the FIU Museum architect, has designed the Frost Art Museum to highlight the university's landscape elements like trees, lakes and, obviously, the South Florida sunshine. To do this, he has mostly used glass all around the Museum structure, allowing visitors to enjoy the view and the natural lighting to be indoors.

    Source:
    Coming into its own. (2003, Fall). FIU Magazine, 10. Retrieved November 16, 2004 from 
    http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=fiu_magazine

    Photograph of the Museum architectural design by Weymouth in the FIU Magazine 2003 online at http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=fiu_magazine

    Reference:
    Coming into its own. (2003, Fall). FIU Magazine, 10. Retrieved November 16, 2004 from 

    http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=fiu_magazine

    Analysis:

    • Note that the passage starts mentioning the source (APA style).
    • The main ideas of the paragraph are expressed in different words, but the argument is the same as the author's.
    • A reference is also provided for both the picture and the text (APA style).

Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is the use of your own words to express the author's ideas without changing the meaning. Paraphrasing does not mean just rearranging or changing a few words from the original.

How to paraphrase:

  • Express the author's ideas with your own words.
  • Keep in mind the author's meaning.
  • Do not use the original sentence structure.
  • ALWAYS give credit to the author. Consult manuals for forms of citations and references in different styles.

Plagiarism occurs when students change words, rearrange sentences, or use synonyms when paraphrasing the original text. Paraphrasing entails expressing others' ideas in your own words so a citation must be provided. The ideas are still the author's and credit must be given. Plagiarism occurs not only when borrowing words but also ideas.

  • Example 1: Paraphrasing - Correct Version

    Original Source Material

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained. 

     

    Student's Version

    Although the corporate world represents a major influence in employees' education, what matters is how this education positively impacts job outcomes regardless of the educational interests of the learner. In spite of an increasing interest in the labor force as a competitive advantage for organizations, economic interests seem to be above educational ones (Bierema, 2000).

    Source:

    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:

    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • Note that the passage ends with a citation of the author (APA style).
    • The main ideas of the paragraph are expressed in different words, but the argument is the same as the author's. Credit is given to the source.
    • A reference is also provided (APA style).
    • However, note that the source of the picture is not mentioned. The reader does not know where the picture comes from. A reference for the picture must be provided.
  • Example 2: Paraphrasing - Correct Use

    Original Source Material

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

    Student's Version

    According to Bierema (2000), although the corporate world represents a major influence in employees' education, what matters is how this education positively impacts job outcomes regardless of the educational interests of the learner. The increasing interest in human resources development is a sign of the importance of people as the greater resources in organizations.

    Source:

    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:

    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • The author's ideas are expressed with different words (paraphrasing) AND the source is cited at the beginning of the text (APA style).
    • The reference is also mentioned (APA style).
  • Example 3: Paraphrasing - Plagiarism

    Original Source Material

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

    Student's Version

    Corporations play a huge role in labor force development, but many places are not friendly to learning, and business targets may not serve the students. The global competition in the economy has made employers be more interested in developing employees to be more competitive in the market.

    Source:

    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:

    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • Note that the student is using the author's sentence structure and ideas, but using synonyms for the original words. Using synonyms is not paraphrasing.
    • The author MUST BE cited to acknowledge the source.
    • The reference provided (APA style) is of no use if the author is not cited.
  • Example 4: Paraphrasing - Plagiarism

    Original Source Material

    Business plays a mammoth role in workforce development, but many environments are inhospitable to learning, and business goals may fail to serve the learner. The competitive global economy has caused employers to take a greater interest in human resource development because it is through people, not technology, that competitive edge is gained.

    Student's Version

    Corporations play a huge role in labor force development, but many places are not friendly to learning, and business targets may not serve the student. The competitive world economy has made employers have a greater interest in employees' development as it is with human resources, not technology, that a competitive advantage is achieved.

    Source:

    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Reference:

    Bierema, L. L. (2000). Moving beyond performance paradigms in human resource development. In A. L. Wilson & E. R. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 278-293). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Analysis:

    • Changing words for synonyms is NOT paraphrasing.
    • The author is not cited as the source of the ideas expressed in the text.
    • The reference (APA style) has no use if the author is not cited in the text.

Common Knowledge

Plagiarism occurs whenever a source of information that is not common knowledge or personal opinion is not being given credit.

What is Common Knowledge?

Information such as dates, historical events, or concepts that any educated person knows, or that can be found in multiple general reference sources. For example, the year the Berlin Wall fell is something considered part of common knowledge as this information can be found in multiple reference books. However, an author's interpretation of the reasons why this historical event happened needs acknowledgment of the source. The criteria for common knowledge is that, whenever there is doubt, it is always better to cite.

  • Example 1: Common Knowledge - Correct Use

    Student Version

    America was attacked on September 11th, 2001 when four planes were hijacked, two of them hit the World Trade Center in New York, one hit the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the last one fell in Pennsylvania. Perhaps the most shocking image was when the twin towers collapsed, leaving thousands of people dead in New York.

    Analysis:
    • Note that the student is just mentioning a historic event that is common knowledge.
    • No citation of the source is necessary.