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Course & Subject Guides

Public Speaking (Oakland Campus)

This research guide is for Public Speaking and related courses

Choosing a Topic

1.  Brainstorm possible topic ideas

  • Consider your personal interests.
  • Engage in conversations with friends and classmates
  • Do some surface reading to learn more about the topic and related concepts

2.  Review the assignment

  • What are the concrete requirements?
  • Where are the opportunities for choice or creativity?
  • What kinds of questions are you being encouraged to ask or explore?

3.  List keywords to define your topic

  • State your research topic as a question
  • 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, this research question "How did New Deal programs influence the arts in America?" might bring to mind such keywords as: New Deal, United States, Depression, Art, Federal Aid to the Arts

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.