Skip to Main Content

Course & Subject Guides

COMMRC 0520: Public Speaking - Oakland Campus

This research guide is for Public Speaking and related courses

About This Guide

This research guide for Public Speaking will address: 

  • Finding sources and evidence for presentations and speeches, for example:
    • Biographical information for your Ceremonial Speech
    • Articles and statistics for your Informative Speech
    • News sources for your Persuasive Speech
  • Selecting sources based on your purpose
  • Citing sources in your bibliography


Profile Photo
Carrie Donovan
she, her
Hillman Library, 405

Formulating a Search Statement

List keywords to define your topic

  • State your research topic as a specific purpose, which will directly inform the thesis or central idea of the speech
  • Think about the significant terms, concepts, and keywords that describe your topic
  • These terms will become the key for searching for information about your topic
  • For example, a rhetorical purpose such as "Today, I'm going to discuss two significant harmful impacts of global warming in the U.S." might bring to mind such keywords as: global warming, climate change, environmental impact, sustainability, etc. 

Consider synonyms for your keywords 

  • Brainstorm variant terms or synonyms to represent your topic
  • Remember that labels and language change over time
  • Keep in mind that changing up your search terms will yield different search results
  • As you identify materials that match your topic, use them to identify new keywords

Finding Background Information

Build a base of knowledge about your topic.  Full-length books provide the most in-depth coverage and perspective over time,  but an encyclopedia entry or book chapter will often provide sufficient background information.

Browsing Local & Historical Sources

Vital Speeches of the Day is available online full-text through the library and allows you to view a daily record of important orations and addresses from 1934 to the present. 

Documenting Pitt includes University yearbooks, athletic media guides, student publications, and hundreds of images depicting the people and buildings that are the University of Pittsburgh's legacy.

Historic Pittsburgh provides access to over 1,000 books, 11,000+ visual images, 1,200+ historic maps, census schedules and an exhaustive chronology of Pittsburgh.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.