Effective Public Speaking
Effective Public Speaking

Effective Public Speaking

Lead Author(s): George Griffin and Contributors

Student Price: Contact us to learn more

Designed to teach the skills and build the confidence your students need to become effective public speakers.

What is a Top Hat Textbook?

Top Hat has reimagined the textbook – one that is designed to improve student readership through interactivity, is updated by a community of collaborating professors with the newest information, and accessed online from anywhere, at anytime.


  • Top Hat Textbooks are built full of embedded videos, interactive timelines, charts, graphs, and video lessons from the authors themselves
  • High-quality and affordable, at a significant fraction in cost vs traditional publisher textbooks
 

Key features in this textbook

Effective Public Speaking gives students the confidence and competence in preparing and presenting speeches with real student videos, a comprehensive glossary, up to five in-class activities per chapter, and a full chapter on controlling speech anxiety.
Using Bongo for Top Hat, students can practice their oral communication skills and get feedback from instructors or their peers.
Built-in assessment questions embedded throughout chapters so students can read a little, do a little, and test themselves to see what they know!

Comparison of Public Speaking Textbooks

Consider adding Top Hat’s Effective Public Speaking textbook to your upcoming course. We’ve put together a textbook comparison to make it easy for you in your upcoming evaluation.

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

Pricing

Average price of textbook across most common format

Up to 40-60% more affordable

Lifetime access on any device

$121.80

Hardcover print text only

$99.29

Hardcover print text only

$114.52

Hardcover print text only

Always up-to-date content, constantly revised by community of professors

Content meets standard for Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology course, and is updated with the latest content

In-Book Interactivity

Includes embedded multi-media files and integrated software to enhance visual presentation of concepts directly in textbook

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Customizable

Ability to revise, adjust and adapt content to meet needs of course and instructor

All-in-one Platform

Access to additional questions, test banks, and slides available within one platform

Pricing

Average price of textbook across most common format

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

Up to 40-60% more affordable

Lifetime access on any device

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

$121.80

Hardcover print text only

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

$99.29

Hardcover print text only

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

$114.52

Hardcover print text only

Always up-to-date content, constantly revised by community of professors

Constantly revised and updated by a community of professors with the latest content

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

In-book Interactivity

Includes embedded multi-media files and integrated software to enhance visual presentation of concepts directly in textbook

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

Customizable

Ability to revise, adjust and adapt content to meet needs of course and instructor

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

All-in-one Platform

Access to additional questions, test banks, and slides available within one platform

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

About this textbook

Lead Authors

George Griffin, Professor of SpeechKeiser University

George Griffin earned his degrees at the University of West Florida and Auburn University. He has been teaching college, business seminars and workshops for over 30 years, while still doing public speaking engagements for non-profit organizations. Currently, he is serving as the Professor of Speech at Keiser University, Orlando, and as Adjunct Professor at Stetson University. George is also the author of “STAGE FRIGHT! A Student-Friendly Guide to Managing the Jitters.”

Contributing Authors

Wade CorneliusNew Mexico State University

Kathryn DederichsUniversity of St. Thomas

Morgan GintherInstructional Designer at Texas A & M

Luke GreenSt. Cloud Technical and Community College

María Elena BermúdezGeorgia State University

Daryle NaganoEl Camino College

Wendy YarberryFlorida State College at Jacksonville

Allen DavisIndiana University

Jasmine RobertsOhio State University

Krista MacDonaldDoña Ana Community College

Explore this textbook

Read the fully unlocked textbook below, and if you’re interested in learning more, get in touch to see how you can use this textbook in your course today.

Chapter 8: Research & Credible Evidence


"Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing"
-Wernher von Braun

Table of Contents

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter you will be able to:

  •  Explain the benefits of research.
  •  Identify five research sources.
  •  Develop approaches to maximize efficiency.
  •  Evaluate sources to determine their credibility.
  •  Determine the necessary approach for citing sources in a presentation

Introduction

Don't be intimidated by academic research. Like any other kind of research, it's all about knowing where to start. [1]​

Letticia was looking to purchase an outdoor camera for her front porch. She decided to first check online before shopping around town. After logging into her computer, She went to Amazon and typed, “outdoor camera” in the search bar. Letticia was immediately surprised, and a bit overwhelmed, by the number of options available to her. 

One camera priced below her budget looked promising.  “Maybe I can save some money,” Letticia thought. The product descriptions were exactly what she was looking for: weather-resistant, waterproof, and the ability to connect to her home Wi-Fi. 

Letticia's excitement soon turned to disappointment when she clicked on the reviews section and read about customer experiences with the camera: 

“The camera constantly loses its connectivity” one reviewer mentioned. 

“After the first hard rain, the sealant on the camera was compromised and condensation filled the camera lens!” Another reviewer exclaimed.

This was discouraging, but at the same time, Letticia felt relieved.  “It’s a good thing I checked the customer experience page,” she thought. “It saved me time and money to read those consumer experiences!”

You have probably had an experience similar to Letticia's when shopping online. There are also many other aspects of your daily life that require you to delve a bit deeper. One example is scrolling through social media. Since it has become increasingly common for, “fake news” stories to flood timelines, you can no longer take a news story at face value.

When you listen to a politician you have to determine how credible their information is and how effective their policy proposals would be based on the knowledge and experience, they claim to have. 

When you finish your college studies and seek professional employment, you will need to provide credible information to convince the interview committee you are the best candidate for the position. 

In your professional career, when you meet with potential clients and customers, you will need to show that you are not only knowledgeable about your topic, but that statistics and the experiences of others support your claims.  

All of the above examples require research. In some instances, it will require gathering information and forming logical conclusions to convince others to buy a product, support a cause, change their thinking, and perhaps their lifestyle. 

Conducting research and gathering reliable information is also essential in developing a speech. In public speaking, you are expected to share more than just your personal experience with your audience. As you present information, listeners will expect to hear about the knowledge and history of any given topic. This chapter will help you understand the importance of research, identifying credible sources, and guidelines for using this information as you develop and present a speech.


Why do I have to research my speech; can't I just use my own knowledge and experience? 

Research is critical to your speech. [2]

Each of us has a hobby or personal interest we spend time crafting and developing. Perhaps your current job has provided you with experience and skills that would be valuable for others to know about. For instance, you might work at a daycare or the motor vehicle department. You might be an avid hiker or perhaps have experience with photography or sell cakes that your artfully decorate. 

If you already have an interest in something, you will have more confidence to present it to an audience. Additionally, the enthusiasm you bring to the topic can engage your listeners and keep them attentive as you share your passion with them. 

All of these benefits are the reasons why many instructors encourage students to take advantage of their knowledge and skills. Speaking from your personal interest and experience can really bring a speech to life, but it is also necessary to show your audience you have sought out information apart from your own knowledge. 

Q8.01

If you are giving a speech on a topic you already have experience with, you do not need to gather outside information.

A

True

B

False

As we delve into the chapter’s contents, we find there are, in fact, three important reasons to research your speech topic:

1. Learning About Your Topic

It may seem unnecessary to learn more about a topic that you are already knowledgeable about. However, while the experience is a valuable resource that can be noted in a presentation, it is equally important not to limit your audience to information from only one perspective. Athletes have many coaches throughout their careers that convey their knowledge of any given sport with them. They may learn the same concept expressed in different ways or new concepts that they had never considered. Learning more about your topic is like gaining knowledge from a different coach.

Another example is to think about a movie you have seen numerous times. Each time you watched it you became more familiar with the lines and probably picked up on details you had not noticed before. That is exactly what will happen when you take the time to learn more about your speech topic. You will reinforce the knowledge you had and gain new information.

2. To Gather Evidence

When presenting information to an audience through public speaking, they will expect you to support your assertions with reliable sources. It is not enough to provide information from one book, website, interview, etc. You will want to convince your audience by providing information from more than one source. 

3. To Gain Credibility

By taking the time to provide information from various sources, the audience will be assured you’ve thoroughly explored the topic. You will have proved to be a credible speaker. The Greek philosopher Aristotle noted three characteristics of an effective public speaker. The speaker had to present in such a way as to express:

  • Logos – logical argument
  • Ethos – credibility (or character) of the speaker
  • Pathos – convey an emotional connection to the audience

These terms will be addressed in more detail in Chapter 10 on writing persuasive speeches. However, they are previewed here in order to express the longstanding historical importance of establishing credibility with the audience or building your ethos. This is easily done when you cite reliable, researched materials to your listeners in a presentation. You effectively demonstrate your topic knowledge by thoroughly researching a subject.

Click here to see the script for Video 8.01.

Click here to see the script for Video 8.02.

Click here to see the script for Video 8.03.

Now that you have an understanding of the importance of researching your speech, the remainder of this chapter will focus on describing five acceptable resources you may use for collecting information, guidelines on how to evaluate source credibility, and tips for referencing sources while speaking.

Identifying Resources

Assistance in Locating Resources

As you read through the descriptions of the five resources, you might ask yourself, “How would I go about locating any of these on my own?” Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, all of these sites are probably very familiar to you, but searching a journal database, locating an old newspaper, finding books on your subject, probably not so much. Fortunately, there is a superhero in the library who is ready to save you from endless hours of search frustration: the reference librarian. When you enter your campus library you can locate this individual by asking for the reference librarian and/or the information/reference desk.

The reference librarian is different than the librarians you knew in elementary and high school. This individual is skilled in assisting students to locate the resources they need, including (but not limited to): online journal databases, search tips, library resources, and special collections. The reference librarian’s job is to help you become acquainted with all the research resources your campus offers. Remember, a portion of your tuition covers access to this new world of research through the library that you can’t get on your own. Take advantage of it! Your reference librarian will show you how.

Familiarizing yourself with the library should really be one of your first goals as a college student. Beyond this public speaking course, you will need to research for many other classes, especially if you plan to attend graduate school. It’s better to learn the process as early as possible so that it soon becomes second nature.

Source 1 – Books 

Books are a great place to start any research project.​ [3]

Years ago, when students wanted to gather research materials, they would instinctively visit their local library. Nowadays, when a student needs information, they pull out their smartphone and run a Google search! The increase in technology has made it easier for today’s learners to find information quickly. However, traditional sources and approaches to gathering material still hold true. Visiting the campus library to identify books relevant to your topic is one such approach.

Nonfiction books provide “synthesized information” on a topic. This means that the author of a nonfiction text takes the time to gather information from various sources, considers its relevance toward their topic, and then combines (synthesizes) the information for the reader.

Research Tips

1. The author’s words should not be considered absolute truth. Keep in mind that the synthesized information the author provides will include his own insights and perspective on the subject. Although the author will use his research to express his position, that doesn’t make the author’s point of view correct.

It is important to practice critical reading. Examine the evidence the author offers, consider opposing arguments, and ask questions about the information furnished in the text.

To put this into perspective, consider a time when a friend or family member shared a life experience with you. They offered details and examples while explaining their actions in a narrative. As you listened you probably considered what was left out, what was exaggerated and asked follow-up questions that helped you gain a better understanding of the narrative. That is exactly what you want to do when reading critically.

2. Use the author’s resources to fast track your own research. This technique is also known as snowballing. When you’re gathering material for a research paper, or in this case a presentation, you will want to identify relevant resources. If you’re able to locate one good book on your topic, you can check out the references the author used.

However, you cannot just cite a source the author used and call it a day. The ethical approach is to check the source the author used by looking it up for yourself. This will help you to directly determine if the information was cited properly while allowing you to read the citation in its original context.

3. Scan the bookshelf. As you know, books are organized into different sections of the library. You will most likely use an online database to search out texts on your topic. Catalog databases will provide the location of the book in the library. Once you locate the book, scan the shelf for other relevant texts. Your book was put in a particular section for a reason. There may be other books with similar information that may be of use to you.

Looking over a whole section is a great way of quickly finding other sources relevant to your topic. [4]


Q8.02

You go to your campus library to locate a certain book on hiking and discover the text is not available in the library. Which of the following options (if any) are possible solutions? Select all that apply.

A

Travel to another library or campus to find the book you’re looking for.

B

Locate an electronic copy of the book or request an interlibrary loan.

C

Continue to scan the shelf to locate the text or another text that may prove just as helpful.

Response Feedback: Option 1 is not generally necessary unless an alternative library is within reasonable traveling distance. If you need a particular text, option 2 is a more viable choice. Campus libraries work together to share resources. If you do your research in a timely manner, you can request an interlibrary loan. This means the library that has your book will loan it to your campus library for your use. You may also work with your reference librarian to locate an electronic copy of the text you’re looking for. Finally, you can always locate an alternative book or scan the shelves to see if the text you were looking for was wrongly shelved (option 3).

In the video below the speaker attempts to cite a source, but beyond the source title offers no information as to where the information came from.

Click here to see the script for Video 8.04.

In this second video, notice that the speaker offers both the author and title for the cited source. The speaker further mentions that the source is a book.   

Click here to see the script for Video 8.05.

Source 2 – Periodicals

Periodicals should also form a part of your research. [5]

The word itself provides the essential meaning of this resource. Periodicals are any type of publication that is published periodically. Reader’s Digest, Time Magazine, and Popular Mechanics are examples of periodicals.

Scholarly journals, such as the Journal of American Medical Association, commonly referred to as JAMA, are another type of periodical. These can provide the most credible information for both a speech or any given research paper required for your courses. Scholarly journals are credible because experts in a particular field write them. These articles are generally “peer-reviewed.” That means other experts will critically review the writings for accuracy before they are published in a journal. From communication to English and from math to history, there are numerous journals for virtually all fields of academia.

Research Tips

1. Take advantage of your educational institution’s resources. Your campus library probably subscribes to a range of online academic journals. As a college student, you have free access to these databases. You may not even have to use library computers to access them. In most cases, you can log into the campus library site and use your student credentials (username, password) to use the database.

2. Use the author’s references to locate your own. Similar to the research approach described in your book selection, you may consider the snowballing approach for the periodicals you’ve collected. Again, this means reviewing the list of references the author has put together and using them to identify useful leads for your own research. Remember, it is unethical for you to quote a source from another source. In other words, you cannot use a reference that another researcher used unless you actually go to the original source and read the information directly.

In the video below, observe how the speaker cites information about an article from the American Psychological Association but does not provide the actual title of the article or the year it was published. 

Click here to see the script for Video 8.06.

Now listen to this second video as the speaker offers the article name, the year it was published, and source.  

Click here to see the script for Video 8.07.

Source 3 – Newspapers

Newspapers offer information – whether recent or historical – on any event as it happened. Imagine a classmate telling you about a tragic event that occurred years ago on your college campus in which a fire destroyed the student union building. After describing the event you asked your friend, “were you there?” To which he responds, “No, this is just what I heard from other students.” 

Depending on your subject mater, newspapers can contribute greatly in the form of contemporary accounts of events. [6]

Now imagine you run across the same story in an old newspaper. The story includes several pictures of the fire, a narrative from the reporter on the scene, descriptions from eyewitness accounts, comments from the kitchen staff on how they think the fire started, and an official statement from the college president. In one article you were able to gather a good sense of what happened that day from multiple sources of information. If there were several discrepancies between your friend’s account and the newspaper article, which would you be more likely to trust? This is the advantage of utilizing newspapers for information. You are put in the moment.

Research Tips

Go online. Most newspapers now have an online presence. You can go to the publication’s respective website (such as the Wall Street Journal) and do a keyword search for what you’re looking for. Some articles may be free while others may require an article purchase. However, before purchasing an article, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Your campus library can help. As noted in the periodical section, your campus library is an excellent student resource. Many libraries subscribe to local and national newspapers. You may also be able to gain access to online articles that restrict access to subscribers.

2. Campus libraries may also contain a treasure trove of archived newspapers. Most libraries have converted archived newspapers to digital formats. You can find these archived records on online databases such as LexisNexis.

Don't be afraid to ask for help: professors, librarians, and even peers can point you in the direction of sources you may otherwise have overlooked. [7]

If you’re unsure where to start, consult your campus reference librarian. As previously noted, this individual is knowledgeable in the library’s resources and can assist you in becoming acquainted with finding information. 

Q8.03

What format can you find newspapers in nowadays?

In the video below, observe how the speaker cites the author of a news article, but offers no information on the newspaper they are citing or the publication year. 

Click here to see the script for Video 8.08.

Now watch this video and notice the speaker offers both the newspaper title, author, and publication year. 

Click here to see the script for Video 8.09.

Source 4 –Interviews

Conducting your own interviews of experts and laypeople can provide additional sources for your speech, but make sure their qualifications are clear to your audience. [8]

As a college student, your time may be limited in many ways as you learn to adjust to independent living while simultaneously balancing your studies with work and social life. During certain times in the semester, you will be assigned several research projects in your various courses. It may seem overwhelming to select, gather, and evaluate information amid other responsibilities.

At times like these, interviews may be your saving grace. Identifying and interviewing a knowledgeable individual is one of the fastest ways to gather information. The interviewee provides information freely without having to search for it in a text. During the interview, when you need clarification or need additional information, you won’t have to spend time looking online, in a periodical, newspaper, or book as you can simply ask follow-up questions.

There are two types of acceptable interview subjects as opinion sources: lay and expert. The layperson has experience while the expert may have both knowledge and experience.

The layperson is someone just like you and me, but with a unique experience or perspective to share. For example, a person who lost their job due to the economy was stranded and survived in the wilderness or was a tornado survivor would fall into this category. Such individuals are not experts by any definition, but they certainly have a unique story to tell.

Experts generally have studied and obtained advanced degrees in a particular field. Such academic training may include field experience. A professional trainer who works with various sports teams and holds a Ph.D. in sports medicine is one example. The opinions of such experts are considered highly credible due to their combined experience and knowledge.

Research Tips

The quality of your interview will depend on how well you prepare. You are responsible for making arrangements, setting the tone, and asking the questions. Here are a few things to keep in mind before and during the interview. 

Once you get the hang of it, research becomes much easier. Below are some tips to keep in mind. [9]​

Before the Interview

1. First things first. Determining your speech topic is the primary step in selecting an interview subject. This consists of determining your topic and its respective sub-points. Your topic will determine the potential subjects for an interview, as you now know what information is necessary to drive your speech.


2. Selecting an Interviewee. The quickest approach to identifying an interview source is on your own college campus. Perhaps a particular department specializes in an area that fits your speech. If so, it is best to speak to the department head and ask for faculty interview recommendations. Often, local TV stations and newspapers will approach accomplished professors for opinion statements. You can do the same for your speeches.

In your community, you can select business or government officials who could offer their expertise and experience (or both) for your topic. Many of these individuals speak with the public frequently and would be more than happy to offer their time, or provide suggestions for possible interview subjects should they be unavailable.

3. Reach out to distant interview subjects: You have nothing to lose! In this age of technology, you should strongly consider reaching out to an author or organization directly online. You may, in fact, receive a response and an offer to provide additional information or even in-person communication.

You have nothing to lose. Ask questions of the specialists! [10]

4. Schedule the interview: your interviewee is willing to take the time to meet with you. It's important to be flexible and make efforts to accommodate them. This may require you to meet at their place of work or a location close to it. Be sure to ask your interview subject what time and location is most suitable for them. If you are unable to agree upon a time offer to hold the interview over the phone or maybe through a video conference using Skype or FaceTime. 

5. Have a plan. When you meet with a friend for coffee, the most difficult decision you’ll have to make is what type of drink to order. You really don’t think about how to carry the conversation or what questions and remarks you want to make. This is not the case for an interview. Keep in mind that the interviewee is giving of their time for your benefit. Therefore, it’s important to carry the conversation in a deliberate manner through a series of pre-planned questions.

In any interview situation, make sure you have questions prepared ahead of time. [11]​

We saw, in Chapter 7, the difference between open-ended and closed-ended questions. It’s important to consider how you will use both in combination in an interview. Open-ended questions allow the interviewee to elaborate and give a full meaningful response. Closed-ended questions limit the type of response the interviewee can give.

Open-Ended Question

Tell me about yourself?

Closed-Ended Question

Do you consider yourself a unique individual?

Q8.04

Often open ended questions receive longer, more insightful answers. Are there any situations you can think of where closed ended questions would be preferable?

If you ask candid questions, be sure to choose your words carefully in order to minimize the offence.

6. Consider recording the interview: You’ll likely jot some notes while speaking to your interview subject. However, it’s difficult to maintain a conversation and write at the same time. If you record the interview, you can easily listen for information and be certain that you are quoting your subject accurately. It also takes the pressure off relying on your notes and memory to remember what was discussed. 

Remember, however, you have a responsibility to get permission from the interviewee before recording your meeting.  

7. Ask for a quote, if not a full interview. If you are looking for a particular piece of information or professional opinion, consider sending a simple, concise, well-worded email to an expert. Their time may be too valuable for an interview, but they might answer your question.

In the following video, the speaker informs the audience about an interview they conducted. However, there is no background information to identify who the person is, what the natural disaster was, or where it occurred. 

Click here to see the script for Video 8.10.

Now listen to the approach the speaker takes to introduce information in this next video. The presenter offers the name, location, and type of disaster the interviewee endured. This lets us know the person is a credible interview source, as they have firsthand experience surviving a natural disaster.  

Click here to see the script for Video 8.11.

During the Interview...

Review your Purpose
When you first meet your interview subject, you will exchange greetings and some small talk. After these pleasantries remind the interviewee what the purpose of the interview is. This will refresh your subject's memory and help them answer questions with your specific purpose in mind. 

Keep the interview on track
As you ask questions, your subject will answer questions and likely bring up information that you will want to follow up on.  This is fine but get back on track with the list of questions you've prepared.  Remember, your interviewee is taking time out of their day to meet with you, by keeping the time you're allotted you're showing your respect for their time. 

Thank your subject and offer to follow up
When concluding the interview thank your subject for their time. Ask them if they would be willing to answer any follow-up questions by phone or e-mail. Finally, offer to provide them with a copy of your notes and perhaps a recording of your speech. 

After the Interview...

Work Quickly
During the interview, you jotted notes and scrawled comments while asking questions. You will want to review your writings and clean up your thoughts as soon as possible while the interview is still fresh on your mind. Take the time to also listen to your recording and transcribe your notes. Additionally, cleaning up your notes and transcribing your recording will give you an opportunity to quickly follow up with your subject should you need clarification or have additional questions. 

Source 5 -Websites

We live in an age where technology is literally at our fingertips. Throughout any given day, you have probably picked up a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to get online. If you have a question about a product or were just wondering what happened today in history, you can very easily do a Google search on any of the above-mentioned devices.

Finding information online is most likely your go-to method for research. There are both advantages and disadvantages to such an approach.

Advantages

The most obvious advantage is the quick and convenient access to information. If a book, newspaper, or periodical is not located in your library you may be able to find it online.

In addition to finding electronic copies of the materials above, the Internet offers volumes of information for you to review on any given subject. From fixing a vacuum to rocket propulsion, you will undoubtedly find information on whatever it is you are looking for.

Disadvantages

One hurdle you may face when searching the internet is the limited access to copyrighted material. Many works published in books or journals cannot be located freely online. If you are able to locate the copyrighted materials online, there is more than likely a fee associated with viewing the information.

You may be familiar with the expression, “don’t believe everything you hear.” We may very well also say, “don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!” Numerous websites, whether from individuals, businesses, or groups, may contain opinion-based or biased information. Such sites are easily published and require no evaluative process to determine their credibility. In the section on Evaluating Source Credibility, you will learn three evaluative approaches to determine source credibility. This will help you in selecting websites as sources. 

More information on website and article credibility can be found in the "Fake News" section below. 

Specialized Resources

In addition to general websites, there is a range of sites that may be useful as you gather information for your speech.  Such sites specialize in providing information in specific areas such as healthcare databases, census information, labor statistics, and historical or cultural archives. Here are a few examples: 

In the following video, the speaker mentions several online articles but does not provide any online information for the audience to reference. There are no websites, article titles, or names given to the audience. 

Click here to see the script for Video 8.12.

Notice how the presenter increases credibility with the audience by offering the year, website, and author’s name for the source they are citing.  

Click here to see the script for Video 8.13.

Evaluating Source Credibility

Gathering material for a speech is not a matter of selecting any information you can find. A source has to be credible in order to be viable for your presentation. There are several factors that make a source credible: 

  • authority
  • objectivity
  • currency

Let’s look at each of these in summary:

Authority: You may have heard the expression, “consider the source.” This is generally used in casual conversation to assess the accuracy of information coming from a person who may not be considered trustworthy. This is the same approach that needs to be considered when identifying sources for your speech.

Consider a speaker making the following two statements about a topic.

Example 1

My cousin just visited Los Angeles and says the traffic there was really bad.

Example 2

According to the Urban Mobility Report scorecard for 2015, drivers in Los Angeles spend an average of 90 minutes a day stuck in gridlock traffic.

Objectivity: Sources that are objective provide balanced information that allows the listener to determine how they choose to understand the information without any influence from the source. If a source does not remain neutral and attempts to influence the listener’s feelings, thoughts, or actions, the source would be considered biased, meaning they favor one thing, person, group, or side over another.

Q8.05

What does it mean to be biased? Explain the steps you can take to ensure your source of information is objective.

Currency or Recency: This refers to how recent or up to date the information may be. Imagine attending a high school reunion and speaking with two friends from high school. During the conversation you ask about Mr. Wayne, an English teacher the three of you had during your senior year. Friend A says, “I ran into Mr. Wayne about five years ago; he’s still teaching and enjoys it very much.” Friend B replies, “I actually ran into Mr. Wayne on a vacation in Hawaii just last year. He says he’s retired and living the good life down at the beach every day!”

Between the two friends, you would consider Friend B’s story more accurate for the simple reason that it was more recent. You want to collect sources for your speech keeping this scenario in mind because the most recent information is oftentimes more reliable.

Some information is enduring and continues to remain true and consistent to this day. This may include ancient proverbs such as those found in Sun Tzu’s work, The Art of War (“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”). In cases such as these, information is unchanging regardless of time or circumstance.

Fake News

In keeping up with the current sociopolitical climate, we have included a section about the concept of “fake news,” a term that has earned a place in an international dialog. In general, this term simply means untrue stories. For example, The Collins English Dictionary defines fake news as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as, “false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.” Unfortunately, in common usage, the term “fake news” is being used to describe any news story that we disagree with or don’t want to be true.

To be fair, there are many examples of untrue stories, particularly on the internet, that are made to look just like legitimate news stories. How is a student researching a topic supposed to know what is true and what is deliberately misleading “clickbait?” How do you know who to trust?

While we might all be fooled from time to time, there is help out there. For example, the website Snopes.com does a good job of vetting fake news stories, such as, “Did Tokyo open the first human meat restaurant?” or “Was Tiger Woods ordered to take 137 paternity tests?” or “Did the government force KFC to stop using the word ‘chicken’ because they use meat from mutant eight-legged animals?”

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions has provided us with a quick guide to help us avoid being fooled, entitled, “How To Spot Fake News,” which gives some common sense advice to follow while doing your research.

IFLA infographic based on FactCheck.org’s 2016 article "How to Spot Fake News"​ [12]​

You have probably heard the expression, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” When doing your research, you may come across information that is just too tempting to use. Check it out thoroughly before you damage your reputation in front of an audience.  

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Incorporating Research into A Speech Presentation

In an English Composition course, you learn how to footnote and format your sources, including bibliography or work-cited page. Similarly, when you present your speech you will also need to cite the sources as the information is presented. Verbal citations vary depending on the type of information you’re citing. The chart below provides a quick reference guide on how to express various types of source information.


Q8.06

Review the speech statements below. Explain which approach is more credible.

Option 1: According to most studies, the fear of public speaking surpasses the fear of death.

Option 2: According to a 2002 study by the American Psychological Association, fear of public speaking exceeds the fear of death.


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Science

Science students, while experts at research and scientific evidence, can often find themselves lacking in opportunities for soft skill development throughout their degree progression, which can negatively effect their prospects in the job market. Students learning chemistry, biology, physics and more can find skills and tips throughout the Effective Public Speaking to assist them with things like communicating complex chemistry clearly in informal environments, incorporating research effectively into a presentation, confidence in presenting and more. 

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[13]

For example, The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine created a foundation for chemistry students aiming to improve their communication skills and make them more well-rounded students. The National Academy recommended that the National Science Foundation and other similar organizations should also be supporting research and programs built to improve these skills in students, which they believe would lead to improved public perceptions of chemistry, enhanced public understanding of policy in relation to chemistry, and improved outcomes for students in the job market[1].  

As you read through the text, those interested pursuing the Sciences should put extra emphasis on:

  • Research and credible evidence 
  • Presentations and technology
  • Communication with stakeholders 
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Summary

You just read about research and credible evidence. The key points to this chapter were:

  • 1. Research is an important part of preparing for a speech. It develops and reinforces your understanding of your topic.
  • 2. There are five primary resources for research: books, periodicals, newspapers, interviews and websites.
  • 3. There are many campus resources to help you with your research including access to online journals, experts on campus for interviews, and reference librarians to familiarize you with library resources.
  • 4. A source’s credibility should be evaluated on the basis of its authority, objectivity, and currency.


End of Chapter Checklist

After reading this chapter, you should be able to say to yourself:

  •  I can explain the benefits of research.
  •  I can identify four research sources.
  •  I am able to develop approaches to maximize efficiency.
  •  I know how to evaluate sources to determine their credibility.
  •  I can determine the necessary approach for citing sources in a presentation
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Video Scripts

Video 8.01

Some of my research on oil pulling comes from a 2014 article from the American Dental Association describing the ancient practice of oil pulling as a means for oral hygiene. I look forward to sharing my findings with you in this speech.

Click here to return to video.


Video 8.02

I’m not the type of person that wants the latest phone, newest car, and trendiest clothes. My tastes are really quite simple. I need a comfortable chair, cozy blanket, a lamp…and a good book to read

I have been an avid reader since the age of five. It gives me pleasure to come home after a long day and curl up to a good book. Recently, I finished reading the Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise. Two outstanding novels by the late author F. Scott Fitzgerald. His works perfectly captured the life and times of those that lived during what was known as the, “roaring twenties”. I would like to share a few examples with you today and hopefully interest you in enjoying one or both of these novels as well.  

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Video 8.03

Being an El Paso, Texas native, I have always been interested in the 1966 NCAA championship, when coach Don Haskins put the nation’s first all black starting line up on the court and won the championship for Texas Western. I did a little investigation at the campus library and found several newspapers documenting fan interviews from 1966. This gave me a starting point where I was able to contact two of those fans through local media. I arranged a sit down with them at a Starbucks coffee shop and was able to get their stories about what it was like living during that historic era.

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Video 8.04

Time and time again, young people have been encouraged to pay attention to the road and put down their cell phones.

(Pause)

Sadly encouragement isn’t enough. According to “Not So Fast” it’s not enough for parents to teach their children how to operate a vehicle safely, parents must teach their children specific proactive steps that will minimize the risk of a crash.

(Pause)

Today I will summarize and share with you three important approaches from Tim’s book.  

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Video 8.05

Time and time again, young people have been encouraged to pay attention to the road and put down their cell phones.

(Pause)

Sadly encouragement isn’t enough. According to Tim Hollister, Author of the book, “Not So Fast” it’s not enough for parents to teach their children how to operate a vehicle safely, parents must teach their children specific proactive steps that will minimize the risk of a crash.

(Pause)

Today I will summarize and share with you three important approaches from Tim’s book.

Click here to return to video.


Video 8.06

Have you or someone you’ve known every jumped, shrieked, or ran in terror by simply seeing a cockroach crawling on the ground? This may seem absurd and irrational, but this is what it’s like to suffer from Katsaridaphobia, which is the fear of cockroaches.

Such fear is unhealthy as it can affect overall health. According to an article published in the August 2005 issue of the American Psychological Association, 10 million adults suffer from some sort of phobia that can become so consuming; it disrupts their daily lives.

If you or someone you know suffers in any manner from katsaridaphobia, rest assured there are ways to cope with the fear and minimize or eliminate its effect on your psyche. 

Click here to return to video.


Video 8.07

Have you or someone you’ve known every jumped, shrieked, or ran in terror by simply seeing a cockroach crawling on the ground? This may seem absurd and irrational, but this is what it’s like to suffer from Katsaridaphobia, which is the fear of cockroaches.

Such fear is unhealthy as it can affect overall health. According to, “Figuring out Phobia” an article published in the August 2005 issue of the American Psychological Association, 10 million adults suffer from some sort of phobia that can become so consuming it disrupts their daily lives.

If you or someone you know suffers in any manner from katsaridaphobia, rest assured there are ways to cope with the fear and minimize or eliminate its effect on your psyche. 

Click here to return to video.


Video 8.08

In 1966, a small west Texas school made history. During the height of the Civil Rights era, Texas Western University made history by starting five African American players in the NCAA championship game. It was the first time any college had done that.

According to a news article by Rodger McKown, defensive speed was a deciding fact that helped the Miners defeat no. 1 Ranked University of Kentucky giving the team a final record of 28 -1 the best in the nation at that time.

This was not however, just another college championship. The Miners victory helped contribute to the national conversation and struggle for civil rights. A struggle I would like to remind you about today.

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Video 8.09

In 1966, a small west Texas school made history. During the height of the Civil Rights era, Texas Western University made history by starting five African American players in the NCAA championship game. It was the first time any college had done that.

According to a 1966 El Paso Times article by Rodger McKown, defensive speed was a deciding fact that helped the Miners defeat no. 1 Ranked University of Kentucky giving the team a final record of 28 -1 the best in the nation at that time.

This was not however, just another college championship. The Miners victory helped contribute to the national conversation and struggle for civil rights. A struggle I would like to remind you about today.

Click here to return to video.


Video 8.10

Each of us knows we should be ready for emergencies, but we often don’t take the time to prepare ourselves or our families. 

I interviewed a natural disaster victim last week about his personal experience. He said, “I remember lying in my bathroom tub when I heard the deafening wind and the shattering glass as my house was torn apart. I scolded myself at that moment for not being better prepared for an emergency such as this! All I could do was wait and pray, hoping I would survive this horrifying ordeal.”

Click here to return to video.


Video 8.11

Each of us knows we should be ready for emergencies, but we often don’t take the time to prepare ourselves or our families. Joseph Saenz was one of those persons. One terrifying night in Moore, Oklahoma, Joseph ran for shelter as the tornado bore down on his home.

When I interviewed Mr. Saenz last week about his experience, he said, “I remember lying in my bathroom tub When I heard the deafening wind and the shattering glass as my house was torn apart. I scolded myself at that moment for not being better prepared for an emergency such as this! All I could do was wait and pray, hoping I would survive this horrifying ordeal.”

Click here to return to video.


Video 8.12

Our society seems to be more health conscious than ever before. There are organic fruit stores, national changes in school cafeteria lunches, and numerous exercise programs. There is also an emphasis on natural remedies over prescription drugs. One such remedy is known as Oil Pulling. According to several online articles, oil pulling is a 3,000-year-old practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil in your mouth for up to twenty minutes and then spitting it out. Doing so helps to remove bad bacteria, freshen breath, and increase overall health. This is not a new health trend, but a time-tested approach to good oral health. Clearly, it is something for you to consider. 

Click here to return to video.


Video 8.13

Our society seems to be more health conscious than ever before. There are organic fruit stores, national changes in school cafeteria lunches, and numerous exercise programs. There is also an emphasis on natural remedies over prescription drugs. One such remedy is known as Oil Pulling. According to a 2014 Online WebMD article by Colleen Oakley, oil pulling is a 3,000-year-old practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil in your mouth for up to twenty minutes and then spitting it out. Doing so helps to remove bad bacteria, freshen breath, and increase overall health. This is not a new health trend, but a time-tested approach to good oral health. Clearly, it is something for you to consider. 

Click here to return to video.



Image Credits

[1] Image courtesy of Static Pixels under CC BY 2.0.

[2] Image courtesy of PDPics under CC0 1.0.

[3] Image courtesy of Abhi Sharma under CC BY 2.0​.

[4] Image courtesy of timetrax23 under CC BY-SA 2.0.

[5] Image courtesy of Manchester City Library under CC BY-SA 2.0.

[6] Image courtesy of Jon S under CC BY 2.0​.

[7] Image courtesy of Konstantin Chagin under license from Shutterstock.com​.

[8] Image courtesy of stevebustin under ​CC BY-ND 2.0.

[9] Image courtesy of wavebreakmedia under license from Shutterstock.com.

[10] Image courtesy of geralt-9301 under CC0 1.0.

[11] Image courtesy of EdwardRech under CC BY-SA 3.0.

[12] Image courtesy of IFLA under CC BY 4.0

[13] Image courtesy of Chokniti Khongchum under Pexels license. 

References

[1] National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Effective Chemistry Communication in Informal Environments. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/21790.

Snowballing - verb
Once you find a good reference resource, check the sources that author used to identify additional relevant sources.
Academic/Scholarly Journal
Articles written by experts in a particular field that are published and reviewed for accuracy.
Periodicals - noun
Any type of publication that is published periodically.
Online Databases
Online websites that have compiled data typically used for general research.
Layperson - noun
A regular person who has a unique experience or perspective to share that will validate or help explain your topic.
Expert - noun
An expert source is someone who is considered highly credible in their field due to extensive experience, years of study, or an advanced degree or position.
Open-Ended Interview Questions
These questions allow the interviewee to elaborate on the topic; to add any details they feel are pertinent or helpful.
Closed-ended Interview Questions
These questions limit the response the interviewee would probably give such as a question that requires a yes or no answer.
Source Authority
A source with extensive knowledge, experience, academic credentials and/or specialized training can be considered an authority.
Source Objectivity
Objective sources provide balanced information and remain neutral on the topic at hand. They do not attempt to influence the reader’s or listener’s thoughts or opinions on the subject.
Source Currency/Recency
How recent or up to date your information or data is.
Verbal Citation
Citing your sources as your information is presented to the audience.