Do you need to cite something you experienced/saw personally?I am writing an APA style paper on Hiroshima city in relation to the atomic bombs. In the paper, I comment on various features of the...

Do you need to cite something you experienced/saw personally?

I am writing an APA style paper on Hiroshima city in relation to the atomic bombs. In the paper, I comment on various features of the memorial park. For example, I talk about the Memorial Cenotaph and the Chirldren's Memorial along with their translated inscriptions.

The thing is, I've been to Hiroshima myself and seen these things with my own eyes. Since this is the case, do I still need to cite them? If so, how would I do so? Would I need to find an outside source to reference?

Asked on by nikkole-am

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dmcgillem's profile pic

dmcgillem | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

The answer to this is going to depend largely on what type of information you are relating. If you are giving information that is considered "common knowledge," meaning that you can reasonably expect the vast majority of people to have this knowldege, then you don't need to cite it, but since the purpose of writing an informative paper is to actually introduce new information, the odds are that you will be imparting many new facts to your readers. Since this information is no longer in the common knowledge realm, you will then need to cite the source.   You can, however, relate your experiences at these places which would include the things that you saw, but factual evidence that you impart - even if you saw it personally - needs to have a source citation so that it can be verified or replicated if the reader so desires.

For example - I went to the zoo and read an exhibit sign about the habitat and characteristics of the Horned Owl.  I want to write a research article over this particular species, but to include information that isn't in the common knowledge realm, I need to provide a verifiable source for that information.  Even taking a photograph or video of myself standing beside the sign isn't sufficient.  In my introduction, however, I could relate my own personal experience at the zoo - my impression of the stately majesty of the owl in its habitat, etc.  Since I am presenting my own observation of what I experienced, I am not presenting factual information.

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