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COM 241: Public Speaking: Selecting Sources

Intro to Public Speaking

What is "good" research?

In this class you are responsible for writing and delivery two speeches: a persuasive speech and an informative speech. For each speech you must consult up to three sources to help craft the argument or communicate the idea. This is not a lot of sources for the length of your speeches! Good research is not just knowing how to find information; it's also about knowing what our information need is and how to properly select and evaluate the best types of information that will help us meet our information need.

This guide will first walk you through evaluation steps for selecting sources and then identify library resources by type of speech that will help you find these sources. 

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a great starting place for initial research.  Unlike a regular Google search, Google Scholar attempts to connect you with more scholarly content then information typically found on the web.  

Website Evaluation

Most of the time when searching for information on Google Scholar you will be connected with the article record from the publishers website. You can use the same evaluation criteria you use when reviewing an article from a library database to determine if articles from the web are peer-reviewed.  See if you can easily identify the author, journal the article was published in, author credentials, etc.

Below are a few other things to keep in mind when evaluating information published on the web. 

  • Currency
    Is the information timely, updated regularly, and appropriate for your information need (i.e. do you need current information for your research)?
  • Relevance
    Is the information relevant and useful for your information need?
  • Authority
    Can you find an easily identified author or sponsoring organization or publisher?
  • Accuracy
    Is the information correct and reliable?  Are you able to verify any of the facts being presented to ensure what you are looking at is truthful?
  • Purpose
    Why was the information written; why does it exist?  

For more information on web information evaluation see the detailed sheet from the Meriam Library at the California State University, Chico.

Accessing Articles from the Web