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Research a Speech Topic (Kemp, 2012)

by Jeremy M. Brown last modified Apr 28, 2016 04:30 PM


Throughout the semester, you will prepare for and present various speeches including informative, persuasive, and special occasion speeches. This course-specific guide provides various library resources to assist in researching each of your topics.


Getting Started
Picking a Topic
Researching a Topic

Getting Started


This section provides some 'tips & tricks' prior to starting your research using Jack Tarver Library resources.

  • 'Log In' to Jack Tarver Library - This will enable you to access full-text articles that you find in the databases without having to type in a password. The  button is in the top right-hand corner of the Tarver Library homepage.
  • Your subject librarian and reference librarians are here to assist you with any research needs. There are a variety of ways to contact a reference librarian on duty by asking a reference question. You may also contact the subject librarian, Lee Twombly, who conducted the COM 210 instruction session at or 478.301.2852.


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Picking a Speech Topic


Before you begin your research, brainstorm several ideas related to the type of speech you will be giving. Having at least a couple of speech topics in mind will be useful in case you are having trouble finding enough research on a particular topic. The key is to pick topics that you find interesting. Below is some information that you may want to consider as you pick a speech topic.

  • Speech Topic Organization - This website from the University of California-Fresno provides information about picking and organizing your speech topic.
  • Possible ideas for different types of speeches:
    InformativePersuasiveSpecial Occasion
    How to organize a closet Stem-cell research Speaker introduction
    Ballroom dancing Immigration Wedding best man speech
    World War II heroes Organic farming Farewell address
    National Parks Recycling Retirement speech
    Voter fraud Helmet laws 50th wedding anniversary


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Researching a Topic


Resources for finding journal and newspaper articles:

  • Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) — Provides abstracts and indexing for over 3,800, as well as full text for over 3,200 scholarly journals and general magazines.
  • CQ Researcher — Coverage of political and social issues, with reports on topics in health, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the U.S. economy.
  • Newspaper Source (EBSCO) — Provides current information from daily feeds from the Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News and Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service Newspaper Source as well as cover to cover coverage of The Christian Science Monitor, the 1996 Pulitzer Prize Winner for International Reporting, and coverage from national and international titles, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hong Kong Standard, The Jakarta Post, and Jordan Today.


Tips for searching databases:

  • Although databases may look different, most have similar features for assisting with your research.
  • Most databases have full-text access to articles indicated by images similar to:
  • If full-text is not available for an article, there may be an option to or
    • The first step to locating the actual article is to search either e-Journals or the Library Catalog (see 'Resources for locating the actual articles' below).
    • If the full-text still cannot be found after searching e-Journals or the Library Catalog, place a request through Interlibrary Loan (see 'Resources for locating the actual articles' below).
  • Databases provide several options for refining your searches:
  • Other database features may include:
    • saving, printing, emailing, and exporting articles
    • citing articles using APA, MLA, Chicago, etc., styles


Resources for locating the actual articles:

  • e-Journals - This resource will search for journal titles that have full-text articles available and can be found in databases subscribed to by the library. Articles not in full-text in one database may be found in full-text in another database. Make sure you have all of the information about the article: author, article title, journal title, volume number, issue number, publication date, and page numbers (see Anatomy of a Journal Citation).
  • Library Catalog - Use the Library Catalog to search for journal titles in print format. You can perform a 'Title' search by typing in the name of the journal that has the article you need. Make sure you have all of the information about the article: author, article title, journal title, volume number, issue number, publication date, and page numbers. An overview for locating library materials in the catalog is available.


Resources for finding books:

  • Ebrary (full-text electronic books) — Electronic library featuring research materials sorted by subject matter. Features complete texts of electronically-available books. A guide to using Ebrary is available.
  • Library Catalog - Use the Library Catalog to search for books in print and electronic formats. You can search for books by keyword, title, author, or subject. An overview for locating library materials in the catalog is available.


For additional resources, go to the Communication Studies & Theatre Subject Guide.


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