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Public Speaking - Oakland Campus: Welcome

This research guide is for all COMMRC 0520 Public Speaking and related courses - Spring 2018.

Always try these!

The minimum places to begin research on a speech topic:

Opposing Viewpoints

See this saved search in PittCat+ for the full range of topics.

More information: here.

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Archives Online

Located off-campus at the library's Thomas Boulevard Facility in Point Breeze, the Archives Service Center (ASC) is the repository for manuscript and record collections that document the history of Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania region, including the University of Pittsburgh. Also housed at Thomas Boulevard is the ULS Digital Research Library (DRL) which, among other functions, provides online access to photographs, map images, manuscripts, audio-visual material and other media.

More Research Guides

3 Types of Speeches

Department of Communication

The study of communication and rhetoric is one of the oldest and also one of the most contemporary of fields. Communication majors examine important questions about society, government, business, communication, and persuasion in a way that combines the best of the ancient liberal arts tradition with critical attention to the newest media technologies and trends.

In courses such as ethics, persuasion, argument, interpersonal communication, political rhetoric, rhetoric of science, nonverbal communication, history of media, media criticism, and television and society, faculty offer diverse views on the roles of communication, media, and rhetoric in our lives.

About 500 students are currently enrolled in the communication program, which offers 41 undergraduate courses.

The Department's Speech Resources and Databases page

About This Guide

H2Cathy!COMMRC 0520 - PUBLIC SPEAKING (3 credits)

This course offers practical experience in effective speech making. It is designed to develop rhetorical understanding and increased skill in public speaking. Students will learn to research, organize, compose, and deliver public speeches.

Skills covered include strategies for focusing topics, locating and selecting supporting materials, motivating audiences to listen, using language effectively, and organizing and emphasizing key ideas. While there is no pre-requisite for Public Speaking, it is not recommended for first-term freshmen.

Public Speaking is a required skills course for majors in Communication, and a pre-requisite for various upper-level courses in the field. It also satisfies the College of Arts & Sciences' Second Literature / Arts / Creative Expression General Education requirement, the Swanson School of Engineering's Social Science requirement, and the College of General Studies' Oral Communication requirement.

Each year over 1000 students enroll on the Oakland campus in some 55 sections of Public Speaking.

Some skills we address in this library Research Guide for Public Speaking:

  •     Conduct competent research as preparation for public presentations.
  •     Isolate and refine key components within your topic and use successful search strategies to explore them.
  •     Use online resources such as PITTCat+, Academic Search Premier database, and CQ Researcher to locate books, articles and other materials.
  •     Identify relevant controlled vocabulary in various resources to more effectively access subject specific information.
  •     Evaluate the quality of found resources, and properly cite them in your work.
  •     Understand and avoid plagiarism and fabrication.

Need space to practice your speech? Want some feed-back?

Annual Speech Competition

Annual Oratory Competition

Persuasive Policy Speech – 1st Prize - $100 (open to all Pitt Undergraduates) To use carefully crafted arguments to persuade the audience to adopt a public issue position and to motivate them to take action.

Commemorative Values Speech - 1st Prize - $100 (open to all Pitt Undergraduates) To use expressive style, emotion and delivery to persuade the audience to praise or condemn certain values, principles or ideals.

Registration and light refreshments * Pizza after Contest * Friends and Family Welcome!
You’ll compete in small groups to win 1st prizes of $100, 2nd prizes of $50, or 3rd prizes of $25!

Enter by leaving your entry form in the Communication office (1117 CL) or by emailing your entry form to: Oral Comm Lab at

See previous year's winners:


Concise Public Speaking Handbook

5th edition: ask for W 308

at the Hillman Reserve Desk

Hillman Desk copy of text (2nd edition) availability:

Self Study Materials

The Hillman

Essential Links

Use the PITTCat+ search engine on the library home page to search across many library resources for books, ebooks, articles, and archives.

Browse the full list of Pitt's article databases by name from A to Z, or by subject, to link directly to general or specialized collections of complete full-text journal, newspaper, magazine, ebook and multi-media content.

Professional Associations

TPN on Public Speaking

Public Speech in the News

"My fellow Americans..."

Read transcripts and watch video of recent press conferences, addresses to the nation, and speeches given in Congress by your elected officials at the White House website.