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Communication 1200 Public Speaking: Researching Your Speech

Why should you research your speech?

Gathering evidence through research builds confidence that what you tell your audience is credible.

Research-based speeches compel the audience to believe what you are saying is true.

1. Have a plan!

Decide on a purpose for your speech

To inform your audience...

Example: To inform my audience about the importance of research and citation.

Craft a thesis

Create a complete sentence using the purpose of your speech.

Example: A properly researched and carefully cited speech will build confidence in the speaker and credibility for the audience.

4. Create a list of concept words to search

Create a set of concept word found in your thesis; add synonyms to the list

Example:  A properly researched and carefully cited speech will build confidence in the speaker and credibility for the audience.

Use quotations around phrases; truncate; use Boolean Logic to broaden or narrow the search

"public speaking"

credible {truncate to find variations (credib* = credibility, credible, etc.) (confid* = confident, confidence, etc.)}

Combine concept words into a search string using AND to narrow and OR to broaden

(speech OR "public speaking") AND (confid* OR credib*) AND research

2. Inventory your research needs

  • Research should support your purpose and thesis
    • Think about the kind of resources that you might need to support your thesis.
  • Plan to find at least 3 quality, credible sources
    • The type of sources you choose should be determined by your purpose and thesis (books, journal articles, reference works, newspapers, magazines, interviews, etc.).
  • Start with the library discovery tool: Discover@MU
    • Discover@MU searches books, articles, magazines, newspapers, conference papers, DVDs, dissertations, theses, etc.
  • If your topic is subject or discipline related, choose an appropriate subject database to search
  • Keep track of each source by creating a reference list, using APA citation style standards

5. Start searching

Use the concept words to create a search string to find relevant articles and books

Use the Discover@MU tool to find a variety of resources

Use a subject database if your speech topic is subject or discipline-specific

Example:  Use Communication & Mass Media Complete to search for articles in the area of communication.

Subject databases have subject specific thesauri to help you locate subject-specific terms to use in your search.

3. Decide where to begin your research

Should you use the Internet?

Positives:  Academic peer-reviewed articles, e-books and electronic reference sources are available online, from the library website.

Negatives:  Starting with a search engine makes it more difficult to filter quality from quantity and evaluate the credibility of the source.  Use the CRAAP test or the 5Ws & 1H to evaluate the content.

6. Keep track of your citations as you do your research

When you browse your search results and identify resources you might want to:

Use the database feature of creating folders.

Add books or articles you wish to read to a folder.

Save the folder or send the contents to yourself in an email.

Choose APA style from the drop-down style menu before you send it to yourself.

Keep track of the books and articles you find in your research by creating a reference list, making sure that they match APA style standards.

For quick reference refer to the Purdue OWL writing center's APA Styleguide.

The 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: the Official Guide to APA Style is available at the Journalism Library, Columbia Missourian Library and Ellis Library.