- What am I interested in?
- What will I enjoy researching (finding books and articles about)?
- What will I enjoy talking about?
- How can I make my interests be interesting to my audience?
Selecting an initial topic
- Use some of the resources listed below to select a topic
- CQ Researcher and Opposing Viewpoints are especially useful for finding topics of current interest (environmental concerns, social issues, economics and finance, etc.)
Narrowing your topic
Most speech topics need to be narrowed and refined as research proceeds
Some ways to consider narrowing a topic like "euthanasia"
- Limit to a specific person - Jack Kevorkian
- Limit to an organization - Hermlock Society
- Limit to a geographical area or ethnic group - Euthanasia in the Middle Ages
- Limit to an aspect of the topic (often aligned with academic disciplines - Legal, scientific, social, economic, or ethical perspectives
- Combine some of the above limitations - Eutnanasia in Germany in the 1940s
- Compare and contrast the way the topic is presented in two or more media (newspapers, magazines, television, film)
Steps for Proceeding
- Use Truman's online catalog to find books on the topic
- Use the article databases below to locate magazine and journal articles; Academic Search Complete is especially useful to begin with as it contains popular an scholarly resources from all disciplines
- Use the Article and Research Databases Guide to find guides to resources in other subject areas
- After gathering material for the substance of the speech, use statistical sources and quotation books to add some "spice" throughout the speech
The world's most valuable and comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 12,500 journals and a total of more than 13,200 publications including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. The database features PDF content going back as far as 1887, with the majority of full text titles in native (searchable) PDF format. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,400 journals.
Use the Library's Articles & Research Databases page to find other sources and databases in relevant disciplines like economics, political science etc...
An archive of more than 1200 core scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Fulltext back to their date of first publication to within the current 2-5 years.
A source for news, business, and legal information. Includes more than 15,000 full text newspaper articles, newspaper and radio transcripts, company profiles and dossiers, and legal decisions from states and federal courts at all levels. This includes Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1970.
A comprehensive sociology research database with more than 1.9 million records and the full text for over 400 journals dating back to 1908. Also contains full text for more than 700 books and monographs and more than 6000 conference papers. Journals related to Criminology & Criminal Justice, Education, Gender Studies/GLBT Studies, History, and Education are also found in this database. For some journals, there may be a 12 month delay in provision of full text content.
Indexes history journals and some other publications covering the US and Canada.
Data about the U.S., such as maps and population, demographic, and economic data.
Over 600 online reference titles in all subject areas. Allows cross-referencing between titles and expanding searches into the Truman catalog and other library resources.
This EBSCOhost eBook collection provides access to over 138,000 titles covering a wide variety of subject areas. It is comprised of the following sub-collecctions:
eBook Academic Collection
eBook Clinical Collection
eBook Community College Collection
eBook High School Collection
eBook K-8 Collection
eBook Public Library Collection
Print Location: PN 6084 .H8 C37 2001
A collection of quotations to add levity to papers, speeches and presentations on subjects including, age and aging, education, and Puritanism.
Print Location: REF PN 6084 . P6 .O94 2006
Quotations from government, politics, economics, international affairs, and philosophy, among other areas. Arranged alphabetically by speaker with a keyword index.
Print Location: REF PN 6084 .B7 . U58 1998
Quotations from all areas of the world of business, with emphasis less on business jargon than applications of business principles on all aspects of life. Includes quotes from business leaders as well as diverse figures such as Edgar Allan Poe, Eleanor Roosevelt, P.T. Barnum, and Raymond Chandler.
Print Location: PN 6081 .Y35 2006
Quotations on all topics, including literature, science, poetry, government, and politics.
CQ Researcher provides award winning in-depth coverage of the most important issues of the day, such as health care reform, immigration, school safety etc.. The reports are written by experienced journalists, footnoted and professionally fact-checked. Full-length articles include:
- Topic overview
- Historical background
- Pro/con feature
- Resources for additional research
Information on current social issues, including viewpoint articles, topic overviews, full-text magazine and newspaper articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, podcasts, and other website links.
Some books included in the database are available in the library, do a keyword search in the Library Catalog using the terms: opposing viewpoints and your topic. Example: "opposing viewpoints" and abortion
Or click here for a complete list of the Opposing Viewpoint Series.