Any effective speech must include sources to support the information being presented or the position being advocated. Although at first glance, the web might seem to be a good place to locate relevant information because of the sheer amount of information located there. Not all information is of equal quality, however. Because anyone can post to the web, much of the information there is outdated or incorrect. Therefore, one of the most important tasks when searching for sources is to locate information that is credible.
The University of Tennessee Library. Libraries at research institutions like the University of Tennessee are excellent sources for some of the most current and credible information that is available. This is especially true for science related topics.
- CS 210 and CS 240 Course Guide - Resources for exploring speech topics, locating relevant books and articles, evaluating information, and citing sources.
- Subject Guides - The subject guides contain resources for conducting research in several different topic areas.
- Subject Librarians - The University of Tennessee library has subject librarians to provide you focused help researching your speech topic.
Government Information. Given that governments are continually collecting and analyzing data, they offer some of the most current information available outside of research institutions. This is especially true for speech topics focusing on the population or economy.
- FirstGov - Links to federal, local, and tribal government sites. The reference center link connects to data and statistics as well as an archive of United States graphics and photos.
- GovLinks Index - An index of links for county and city governments across the United States.
- GPO Access - United States government site allows searches of full-text databases containing publications of the Government Printing Office relating to all three government branches.
- State and Local Government - Links to state and local governments for all 50 states. Also provides a topics index for all 50 states.
- United Nations - Official site of the United Nations. Contains links to all U.N. organizations and departments, as well as U.N. documents.
Statistical Resources. It will often times be neccessary to cite a statistic as evidence for a claim made in a speech. Therefore, several credible resources for locating statistics are presented below.
- FedStats - A Web portal to United States government statistical sites. Allows searches by statistical site or federal statistical agency.
- Internet Public Library Statistics Subject Collection - Collection of links to statistical sites organized by the IPL.
- STAT-USA - United States government databases containing full text documents concerning federal trade, business, and economics information.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States - A searchable collection of statistical tables organized and presented by the United States government.
- The Gallup Organization - Archive of Gallup polls. Although some of the information is fee based, users may sign up for a free trial period.
Citing Sources. A citation must be provided any time another person's or organization's work is used as part of a speech or research paper. The purpose of providing a citation is two fold. On one hand, the citation gives credit to the original author of the work. But perhaps more importantly, the citation gives the audience all the information neccessary to locate the original source. Although there are multiple citation styles available, the accepted style for the Social Sciences and the School of Communication Studies is the American Psychological Association (APA) style. The APA has assembled a manual that instructs people on the intricacies of APA style. For your reference, the University of Tennessee library possesses several copies of this manual and the Writing Lab at Purdue University has created an abridged online version of the APA manual.