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Academic Integrity

Guide to having academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism

What Is NOT Common Knowledge

There are certain types of information that will always need a citation and are not considered common knowledge, divided broadly into two categories.  In either category, if you told someone this information, they would most likely ask you where you found the information.

Objective information:

  • Statistics (numbers, percentages, bits of data gathered from a larger collection of data)
    • 25% of students surveyed agreed...
    • Only 2 out of 18 business owners polled did not...
  • Results of research/studies done by others
    • According to the 2018 study conducted by Smith and Jones, nurses listed fatigue as the most common cause of...
    • In contrast to their 1998 article, Rodriguez and Wang's 2018 research now shows that...
  • Names, dates, and/or other facts not found in common reference sources
    • The 1972 graduating class of Central Penn Business School contained 16 men and 73 women.
    • As of June 30, 2017, Cumberland County has preserved 18,765 acres across 162 farms.

Subjective information:

  • Opinions expressed by others
    • Dr. Hartman explained that he believed that dogs were easier to own than cats because...
    • Lee's 2015 article listed five reasons why she thought that students were really leaving one major for another...
  • Interpretations, by others, of facts or historical events
    • Without Hitler, the Nazi party would have... (or wouldn't have...)
    • One of the main causes of the current economic situation, according to Gruber and Winslow (2018), is...
  • Information that could be considered controversial, including statements or especially conclusions by others, such as:
    • Whether or not immigration is positive or negative
    • How much force is justified as used by law enforcement
    • Discussions of topics such as pornography, prostitution, or the balance between humanity and the natural environment