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Communications & Speech Research Guide: COMM 105: Persuasive Speech

A guide to resources for choosing a speech topic, presentation tips, and information sources for speech and interpersonal communication topics.

Recommended databases

Start here

Research tips

Tips for finding articles

  • Use the advanced search mode so that you can search multiple terms at once
  • Think of related words you could try in different combinations.
    • For example: body image, self-esteem, self-image, body dysmorphia,
  • Pair your topic with different populations or categories
    • Textbook affordability for college students
    • Body positivity and social media
    • Gender bias in healthcare
  • To read the whole article, look for a button that says PDF Full Text or HTML Full Text. Sometimes you'll see a button that says Full Text Finder, you can click this to pull up articles in other databases.

Tips for finding books

  • Think generally when you use the catalog.
    • Instead of searching kids on tiktok, try children and social media.
  • Put quotation marks around a phrase:
    • children and "social media"
  • You don't have to read the whole book to use it as a source!
    • Look at the table of contents and jump to the chapter that relates to your topic.
  • Our catalog also contains streaming videos, including documentaries, which are great potential sources.
  • To read e-books off-campus, you'll need to log in using your Carroll email address and password.

The assignment


  • Choose an issue you'd like to explore or a problem you'd like to solve.
  • Research your topic and gather facts, statistics, expert analysis, and examples to make your speech more convincing.
  • Deliver a 5-8 minute persuasive speech in class.

Source requirements

  • 3 credible/authoritative sources
  • Cite sources in a Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) list submitted with your formal outline

Tips for choosing a topic

  • Think about an issue that affects you or your community. For example:
    • cost of living in Carroll County
  • Try to pick a topic that you're curious about. Think about:
    • your hobbies
    • the people and topics you follow online
    • something that's always bothered you
  • Start searching - type a single word or phrase into OneSearch and see what people are saying about it

Some more ideas for where to find a topic:

  •  debates in your major or chosen career field
  • a problem you wish you could solve
  • a challenge you and your peers face

Need help?

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Communication Lab