- 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 Premiere 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
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
A multi-disciplinary database that provides full text for more than 4,600 journals, including full text for nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles.
Provides a wide range of full-text news, business, legal, and reference information.
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.
More than 100 agencies in the United States Federal Government produce statistics of interest to the public. Sources are listed by both statistical agency and within an A-Z topic list.
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.
Shelf 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.
Shelf 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.
Shelf 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.
Shelf Location: PN 6081 .Y35 2006
Quotations on all topics, including literature, science, poetry, government, and politics.
Shelf Location: REF H 35 .E352
Each volume contains a cumulative index to the issues which cover various topics such as gun control, cybercrime, prison reform, etc.
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.
Reference & Electronic Resources Librarian
Tel: (660) 785-4528