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CMJ 103: Public Speaking & Information Literacy Guide

Welcome to the Public Speaking Research Workouts!

The following mini-workouts are intended to enhance your research acumen, and build your flexibility and endurance with the research process. These workouts are tailored to your speeches in CMJ 103. Don't hesitate to reach out to me (your CMJ librarian, Jen Bonnet!), with any questions or for help with your assignments.

Research Mini-Workout 1: Selecting Your Speech Topic

Time to do those reps, people!

1. Consider these questions when selecting a topic.

  • What's in the news?
  • What's debated in my field?
  • What's on my mind?

2. Learn more about a topic that interests you.

Not sure where to begin? Choose from continuously trending social media hashtags, like #takeaknee, #Masks4All, and #noplastic.

  • Use Google, or your favorite search engine, to explore a question that intrigues you (or use one of the trending hashtags mentioned above as your sample search topic). 
  • Take note of what comes up in your searches that is surprising, important, or that you want to learn more about.
  • Consider whether there seems to be enough information that interests you on your topic.
  • Take note of any points of view you encounter that you have not yet considered.
  • Write down 2-3 specific directions you want to explore further. 
  • Try this process once more time with another potential topic (reps are key to building muscle!).


Research Mini-Workout 2: Identifying Types of Sources To Use In Your Speeches

Your turn!

1. Go to the Information Lifecycle Page of this guide.

2. Use your potential speech topic to identify at least three different types of sources you might use to explore your topic.

3. Describe why each type of source you selected might benefit your speech.


Research Mini-Workout 3: Where to Find Sources for Your Speeches

Let's flex those research muscles! Go to the Where to Find Sources tab of this guide and do the following:

1. Use Global Newsstream to find a news article relevant to your potential speech topic.

2. Use Academic Search Complete to find a peer reviewed article relevant to your potential speech topic.

3. Search Roper iPoll to see if there's a relevant poll question related to your topic.

Take notes on your search process, including what worked or didn’t work and how you modified your search to get better, more relevant results.

Next rep!

1. Use the library catalog, URSUS, to find a book (or book chapter) relevant to your potential speech topic.

2. Use Google to find a government document relevant to your potential speech topic.

As before, take notes on your search process, including what worked or didn’t work and how you modified your search to get better, more relevant results. Remember that research is iterative and practice makes progress!


Research Mini-Workout 4: Evaluating Sources for Your Speeches


You're up!

  • First rep: Go to the Evaluating Sources page of this guide and use SIFT to evaluate one of the sources you've found on your speech topic.
  • Next rep! Use the same evaluation technique with another source you're considering using in your speech.
  • Third time's a charm! Let's do one more round. You got this!


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