Communication 131 – Public Speaking

Mrs. Norman Whitehouse making street speech for suffrage. 1913. (Library of Congress)

About this guide

This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research in Communication 131. Use the tabs to navigate through the pages of the guide.


These resources will be excellent, and the techniques suggested will save you time, when you conduct research for credible sources to make your informative, persuasive, or argumentative speeches.

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Print Reference Books

Reference books are a good place to begin your research. These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section.

  • Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues — R 306.0973 S528e 2011
  • Polling America: Encyclopedia of Public Opinion — R 303.38 B561p
  • Encyclopedia of Politics: The Left and the Right — R 320.03 C283e
  • Dictionary of American History — R 973.03 A194d 2003

Online Reference Sources

The library also subscribes to some online reference sources. To access these resources from off campus, you will need to log in with your Pipeline account information.


The library’s collection includes both print books and online eBooks. Search the library catalog for books on your topic.

Note: Books in the following series cover a broad range of social issues. Browse the book lists to get ideas for a topic.


Articles from periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) often provide current information on a topic. To find articles on your topic, search one of the online databases listed below. These databases usually provide the full text of articles.

  • Academic Search Premier: Includes both scholarly and popular sources on a wide range of topics. For more specific article searches, use the Advanced Search screen, and select ”Editorial” or ”Speech” from the ”Document Type” menu. For scholarly sources, select ”Peer Reviewed” from the right column of the search screen.
  • CQ Researcher: Includes reports on current and controversial social and political issues.
  • Opposing Viewpoints: Includes overviews, statistical information, and arguments on both sides of controversial issues.


Newspapers may provide the most current information on your topic. Some of the databases listed above allow you to limit your search to newspaper articles. Or, try searching one of the library’s newspaper databases:

  • National Newspapers: Searches New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and Washington Post.
  • Newspaper Source: Provides cover-to-cover full text for 35 national and international newspapers. The database also contains selective full text for more than 375 regional (U.S.) newspapers. In addition, full text television and radio news transcripts are also provided.

Podcasts can provide information on current social issues, and can offer examples of how experts present information orally.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources to determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: The reason the information exists. Is the purpose to sell, to entertain, to inform, to teach, or to persuade? Do the authors and publishers/sponsors make their purposes clear? Is this source designed for general readers or academic readers?
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does it relate to your topic? Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information. Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong or emotional language, or leave out important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Where does the information come from? Can you verify it in other sources? Are there citations or links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
  • Expertise: The source of the information. Who are the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the information? Are they experts, or has the information been reviewed by experts? Is it posted on a personal website or blog?
  • Newness: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Is it up to date? Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as technology or current events), or will older sources work as well?

Sources of Academic Websites

Government Information

  • First Gov The U.S. government’s official web portal.

Fact Checking Groups

Public Opinion Polls

You will use the APA citation format when you cite your sources in this course, but you will add one additional item: the date on which you retrieved the source you are citing.

For example, the Purdue OWL APA Style links below include citation instructions such as this one for an article from an online periodical:

  • Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available). Retrieved from

You will add the date you retrieved this article, as follows:

  • Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available). Retrieved date of retrieval, from

For detailed information about APA format, refer to the links below: