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CMJ 103: Public Speaking & Information Literacy Guide

Begin with an idea

You're being asked to develop several speeches throughout the semester on a topic of your choosing. Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin your research.


1. Begin with an idea. What would you like to learn more about?

If you’re not yet sure, scan the home page of a few news sources to see what stories are popular, look at Fogler's Hot Topics guides, or take a look at CQ Researcher in Fogler Library’s Databases list.

Determine a question you would like to answer. For example:

  • How is climate change affecting the tourism industry in Maine?
  • What are the physical and psychological effects of meditation?
  • How do gun control laws affect crime rates?

Develop context for your topic

2. Develop context for your topic/question by exploring background information on it. Consider the many resources available to you, including information on the open web, books/ebooks through Fogler’s catalog, and the library’s access to Statista (for statistics) or streaming video options. 

Search for scholarly articles

3. In addition to background information, search for scholarly articles to discover what has been analyzed or studied on your topic. Consider your speech as a chance to enter into a conversation with these sources.

Allow yourself to change your mind

4. As you learn more about your topic, allow yourself to change your mind and consider new perspectives on your topic.

Read and evaluate sources

5. Read and evaluate the sources you find to determine their credibility and appropriateness for your speeches.

Use information ethically

6. Remember that the ethical use of information involves giving credit to the sources you consult when you present ideas about your topic. For your speeches, you will do this through oral and written citations. Not only does this help you avoid plagiarism, but it helps your audience trace the development of your ideas. Organize your sources in a way that allows you to manage your workload and properly cite the materials you use.

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