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Developing good academic practice
Developing good academic practice

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4.1 General examples

Are the following general examples common knowledge?

Example 1

The capital of France is Paris.


Even if you didn’t know the capital of France, you would probably have no difficulty in finding this information. This can, therefore, be regarded as common knowledge.

Example 2

When walking along the road, you should keep to the pavement.


This is common knowledge in the UK, and also Rule 1 for pedestrians in the Highway Code. So you would reference it if you wanted to prove to somebody that this was in the Highway Code; otherwise, you would not.

Example 3

The population of England and Wales in 1700 was about 5.5 million.


Think about how difficult it would be to find this information. Even though this figure might not be contested, it is not the kind of thing that people commonly know and it would be tricky to look up. It is, therefore, not common knowledge and would need a reference.