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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chapter 6: Researching Your Topic

Chapter 6: Researching Your Topic

Chapter Summary

Researching your speeches requires three activities: preparing to do your research, gathering information, and evaluating what you've found. Preparing begins with determining what you know and don't know about your topic. Use your own experiences as the basis for developing your research strategy. Preparation also requires identifying multiple perspectives and sources, particularly those that challenge your assumptions.

Its vast variety of sources makes your campus library the logical first stop in gathering information. A short e-mail or in-person exchange with a librarian can save you hours of frustration. Library databases often contain hundreds of full-text databases, so you can download information onto your own computer.

Organizations offer another source for gathering information about your speech topic. A local company or other institution often can provide up-to-date information your audience may find especially relevant.

Other information sources include websites, the deep web, blogs, newsgroups, and discussion lists. Metasearch engines, search engines, and web directories assist you in your quest for information. Specialty search engines provide windows into the deep web, databases that traditional search engines can't reach. By carefully planning and refining your search, you can weed out the junk from the truly useful online resources.

Interviews with experts can yield personal and current information about your topic. Planning and preparation form the basis of a successful interview. Developing a solid interview guide with thoughtfully phrased questions that are logically organized facilitates productive interaction during the interview. Flexibility and a genuine interest in knowing more about your topic will aid you tremendously when you conduct your interview.

As you gather information, evaluate it for reliability, validity, and currency. Ethical speakers present convincing, recent, and well-supported information. In evaluating information, ask critical questions such as, "What are the author's assumptions?" and, "What evidence is presented to support the conclusions drawn?"

Doing sound research means starting early, setting aside specific time to research your topic, asking questions when you run into problems, keeping accurate records, taking accurate notes on each source, revising and refocusing when necessary, knowing when you have enough information, and knowing when to continue your research. Even the most polished delivery can't make up for poor content. So thoroughly, creatively, and carefully research your speech topics.

Click "read more" below to continue and for tools: 

If the links below do not work properly, refer to the column on the right and go to the chapter resources located on Angel.

State of the Union Address Archieve:

Pew Center for the Internet:

BrightPlanet Guide to Effective Searching of the Internet
A detailed step-by-step tutorial on searching the internet
that is available in PDF as well as HTML for easy printing and reference.
Although the tutorial was developed in 2004,
the principles are still applicable today.
Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
You may think of the U.S. government as dry and boring,
but the publications cover a broad range of topics in areas such as biology,
medicine, business, agriculture, politics, and international issues.
This page is the gateway for an index of print and
electronic materials published by U.S. federal agencies.
Conducting the Information Interview
The website includes a seven-part tutorial of modules
and applications to help you develop your skills in
conducting information or research interviews.
Internet Public Library
Links to reference materials, books, newspapers,
magazines and more. Check out the extremely
useful Searching Tools, such as FARQs
(frequently asked reference questions).
Search Engine Showdown
Provides reviews and analyses of search engines,
as well as useful strategies for searching the internet.
Search Engine Watch
This is a site about search engines.
Includes search engine reports, facts about search engines,
search engine resources, and tips on searching the internet.


dulcenea leae Com101-HN4041 said...

A lot of great information in this Chapter:)

Dulcenea Leae HN 4041

Trevino01 said...

This chapter describes to us what it takes to research your topic. you must have quality information when you do your speech to keep it interesting.

Anonymous said...

This chapter will definitely help me with my resources. I do know about my topic but much of this is readily available on line. I have not been to a library in a long time but I just learned that I can email the librarian to help my search easier. Thank you.

Anita Falconetti
comm 101-4049

Anonymous said...

This is just teaching me that it takes time to write a good paper. It's not something that I can just throw together. I can use the school library and the Librarian to point me into the right direction. I have to use websites and books that have a good reputation for being accurate as well.

Chris Smith com101 sec4049

Berenice said...

great post!! :D