- No; the basic facts about the checks-and-balances system are common knowledge and do not need to be cited.
- No; even if you cannot remember the exact date of the assassination attempt on Reagan, it is common knowledge because the date is undisputed and can be found in a variety of sources.
- No; writing on the Web is protected by copyright and must be cited, even if no author is listed.
- Yes; it's common knowledge if it appears undocumented in 5 or more sources.
- Yes; such a small program would not be widely known, so you should cite your sister as a source if you mention it. If you describe the program in more detail, it would make sense to research documents or newspaper descriptions and cite these rather than Big Sis.
- No; the date and location of Shakespeare's birth is not in dispute and can be found in many sources, so it is common knowledge even if you did not know it.
- Hmmm. This is a tricky situation. Since some, but not all, literary historians believe Shakespeare himself played the ghost, this is probably common knowledge among Shakespeare experts. You, however, are not a Shakespeare expert, so it would be wise to cite the footnote just to be safe. So, the answer is, Yes—cite it!
- No; undisputed dates are common knowledge.
- Yes; conspiracy theories are controversial, and the details of such controversies need to be cited.
>>Section 3: Myth or Fact Quiz