Skip to Main Content
UC Logo
Libraries | Ask the Libraries

Communication 1071: Effective Public Speaking

This guide provides resources for the concept and persuasive speech assignments

Your Speech Topic

As you develop your speech topic: 

  • Review your assignment for requirements and guidelines
  • Talk with your professor to determine if the speech topic meets the scope and scale of the assignment
  • Make sure you go through the speech topic approval process if required by your professor 

Find Topic Ideas, Definitions and Background Information

The following resources  provide background information to help you discover a topic for research.You may be able to find one or more of the following: definitions, references, pro/con, and related sources. Materials from these reputable sources can be used for any of your speeches.

Please note that these are just starting points and other resources will be necessary to further investigate your argument or point of analysis. Be sure to check with your instructor for any assignment requirements and/or restrictions.

Choose Keywords

After you have decided on your speech topic, you'll need to identify keywords--the most essential elements of your research question.  These terms are what you will search with in library databases.  It also is important to brainstorm related words and concepts, so that you have multiple terms to mix and match--this will maximize your chances of finding sources.  

The background reading you did when choosing your topic is also  relevant to selecting keywords--look through what you have already read to get a sense of the language others have used to describe this topic.  Use this vocabulary as a starting place for listing keywords.

Hints for Using Keywords

  • Don't use too few keywords. This will bring too many results, many of which will be irrelevant.
  • Don't use too many keywords may bring too few results.
  • Choose contextually appropriate language (think about the terms the author would you use for the topic/genre):

flu or influenza
teens or adolescents

  • Examine relevant articles to identify keywords for subsequent searches.
  • Use double quotes to "glue" words together:

"global warming"

  • Many databases allow you to indicate if you want to include all your search terms (AND), any terms (OR) or exclude terms (NOT). 

Who wrote this guide

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

Contact Us | Staff Directory

University of Cincinnati

Alerts | Clery and HEOA Notice | Notice of Non-Discrimination | eAccessibility Concern | Privacy Statement | Copyright Information

© 2021 University of Cincinnati