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.


The techniques and sources suggested here will save time when you conduct research for your informative, persuasive, or argumentative speeches.

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Interested in learning more about the library on your own? Explore the library’s online tutorials.

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

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 (books+) 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 Complete: 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:

  • US Newsstream: Searches New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and Washington Post.
  • Newspaper Source Plus: 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. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
  • Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
  • Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
  • Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?

Sources of Academic Websites

Government Information

Fact Checking Groups

Public Opinion Polls

APA Citation

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

**Remember to format the hanging indent.

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


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