Do Research Papers Have Conclusions And Generalizations

Information qualifies as common knowledge when it can be found in a significant number of sources and is not considered to be controversial. General descriptions of social customs, traditions, and observable world phenomena qualify as common knowledge, as well as popular expressions and sayings such as “the early bird gets the worm.” Common knowledge can vary between subject fields, so think about your audience. If you have doubts about whether something is common knowledge, ask your professor or another expert in the discipline.



Common Knowledge: 
Davidson College was established in 1837 by Presbyterians.

Needs a Citation:
Davidson College was established in 1837 by Presbyterians who bought the land primarily for its rural location, far from the immoral enticements of cities.


For more information about when you don't need to cite, see:

  • Ballenger, Bruce P. "Appendix A: Guide to MLA Style." The Curious Researcher: A Guide to Writing Research Papers. New York: Longman, 2009. 257-318. Print.

    Contains information about the circumstances in which to cite and some examples of common knowledge.
    Check WorldCat record.

  • Fowler, H. Ramsey, and Jane E. Aaron. "Avoiding Plagiarism and Documenting Sources." The Little, Brown Handbook. New York: Pearson Longman, 2010. 626-634. Print.

    Contains a section on what qualifies as common knowledge.
    Check WorldCat record.

Recent research on cold-water immersion incidents has provided a more complete understanding of the physiological processes occurring during drowning and near-drowning accidents. Current findings suggest that the cooperative effect of the mammalian diving reflex and hypothermia plays a critical role in patient survival during a cold-water immersion incident. However, the relationship between the two processes is still unclear. Because it is impossible to provide an exact reproduction of a particular drowning incident within the laboratory, research is hampered by the lack of complete details surrounding drowning incidents. Consequently, it is difficult for comparisons to be drawn between published case studies.

More complete and accurate documentation of cold-water immersion incidents-- including time of submersion; time of recovery; and a profile of the victim including age, sex, physical condition--will facilitate easier comparison of individual situations and lead to a more complete knowledge of the processes affecting long-term survival rates for drowning victims. Once we have a clearer understanding of the relationship between hypothermia and the mammalian diving reflex, and of the effect of such factors as the age of the victim, physicians and rescue personnel can take steps to improve patient care both at the scene and in the hospital.

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