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COMX 111: Introduction to Public Speaking: Library Research

Welcome! This is a guide designed for students enrolled in COMX 111.

Formal Speech Outline

This guide was designed to help with your COMM 111 research. The library has many resources available to assist you in your research; we can help you find material, learn how to correctly use and cite information, and judge how to select the best sources for your topic. Use the tabs for help with library research, APA citation style, and avoiding plagiarism.

Getting Started with Library Research

For your Informative and Persuasive Speeches, you need to cite:

A minimum of 3 published sources, with one published within the previous 3 months.

These databases will help you find articles on your topic. Search using the keywords you have developed, and be prepared to use both broader and narrower search terms to refine your results.

Determine Your Research Needs

  • Identify the issue. What is your purpose statement? What is the central idea for your speech?
  • Perform preliminary background research using multiple sources (library databases, books, journals, local experts, etc.). Take note of additional terminology and suggested terms. List important or key ideas, terms or people relevant to your topic.

  • Revise/Refine your approach to the issue based on what you learned during your preliminary research. You may have chosen to focus more narrowly, or broaden, your speech.

  • Generate additional keywords for your issue. Think in both more specific and broad terms. List as many relevant synonyms as you can.

  • List the types of supporting material you will need for your speech, including common knowledge, personal experience, examples, testimony, and statistics. 

Analyzing Sources

  • Authority: Who is the speaker or writer? What are his/her credentials? Who, if anyone, sponsors the information? What is the reputation of the publisher?
  • Recency: Is the information reflective of current knowledge? Is the recorded date reflective of the information?
  • Objectivity: What is the author’s self-interest, bias or opinion? 

Tracking Your Citations

  • Remember to keep track of the sources using Refworks that you find for future reference. Good research relies on the belief that the work of others is ethically cited...practice this routinely as part of the scholarly process!
  • Be sure to record important information like title, author, year of publication, volume and issue, page numbers, publisher and URL. You will need this to build your bibliography. 

Your Librarian

Megan Stark's picture
Megan Stark
Undergraduate Services and Outreach Librarian
Associate Professor
MLIB 324
Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library
University of Montana
Missoula, Montana 59812

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