Developing good academic practice
Developing good academic practice

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Developing good academic practice

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.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371