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HCS100 - RKnight

HCS100 - Introduction to Human Communication - R. Knight

This Research Guide has been designed to assist you in doing library research for the speeches in your class. It includes links to research tools that will help you find background information, newspapers, magazine and journal articles, and books.

Feel free at any time to use our Ask Us Anything chat or email reference service for additional assistance.

Types of Research for HCS100

Doing research for this class requires asking yourself some important questions: What am I looking for? Am I giving an informative speech or a persuasive speech? Am I talking about general topics that anyone might give a speech on or communication-specific topics that Dr. Knight has assigned? The answers will influence a) what databases and resources you search, and b) what search terms you use.

The links and databases on the Start Here page are excellent starting points for general research on various topics that might be interesting in a speech. The Ebsco Discovery search allows you to do one-stop shopping for all of the books (including e-books!) and articles that are immediately available through Lehman Library. (Never stop with Discovery; check for titles available outside of the library collection and specific databases for your topic).

Selecting a Topic

Select a topic or issue which interests you. Researching something interesting is much easier than researching something which means nothing to you. To prepare for your research, watch this video: Picking Your Topic IS Research. Visit the Background Sources page for background sources and a link to topic guides.

  1. Tips for choosing a topic:
    • Choose a topic that interests you
      (i.e., What are you interested in? What are your hobbies?)
    • Choose a topic that interests your audience
      (Do some general audience analysis to decide what members might enjoy hearing about or might need to learn.)
    • Choose a topic that fits your occasion and setting
      (Is there a holiday or event approaching? If the occasion is a speech class, what is appropriate for a college setting?)
    • Some topics are inherently inappropriate for speech class. Don't advocate or endorse illegal and/or unethical activities. Watch out for topics that are boring or overused
      (If we have heard about the dangers of underage drinking all of our lives, what difference is your 5 minute speech going to make? What can you do with the topic to make it fresh or unique?)
  2. Informative speeches are simply to inform. Do not take or advocate a position. You are to remain objective and simply present the issue.
  3. During persuasive speeches, you should take a side on an issue and suggest creative and workable solutions to the problem you present.
  4. Websites such as the following can help you as you narrow topic choices (http://www.speech-topics-help.com/). There are some bad suggestions and overdone topics on the list, so use good judgment.
  5. Research steps: a) assess your personal knowledge--decide what you already know about your subject so you know where to move next; b) ask yourself: what information do I need? Where am I most likely to find it? How can I obtain this information? And How will time constraints affect my research options?; c) collect information from a variety of sources--there are pros and cons to every type of source; d) record the important information, and e) evaluate the quality of the material

Make sure to cite your sources! If you got an idea or an explanation of a theory from your textbook, you still need to cite it. Skipping citations is a silly reason to lose points.