Steelman Library
Saturday: 12:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Oral Communication - Honors Speech


Welcome to the Research Guide for Oral Communication! Here you will find resources and tips for beginning your research. Use the tabs at the top to find sources and information. 


Speech Communications

The ability to speak competently and confidently in front of audiences of all sizes is a critical part of what it means to be educated. Public speaking skills are critical in all fields of study, including business, ministry, healthcare, mathematics, aviation, and teaching. Effective public speaking can open countless professional doors, but it requires quality research.

You may need to start with an encyclopedia to get an overview of your topic. Your next step is to begin researching your topic in one of the library's databases. Then take your research to the next level with scholarly journal articles.

Getting ready to finish the Reference page? Don't forget to check out the tab on APA formatting!


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Websites to Help You Choose and Refine a Topic

Finding Good Keywords

Thesis / Topic Statement

  1. Write out your topic as a sentence or question.
  2. What are the key words in your statement or question?
  3. Using a thesaurus, list synonyms for your keywords.

Using an Encyclopedia

Using an encyclopedia, look up your topic and find other keywords from the entry.

Try various combinations of the keywords as you search for resources.

Steps to Finding and Narrowing Your Topic

One of the most important steps you can take to get an A is actually one of the easiest. Picking a great topic will help you immeasurably as you continue with your writing and presenting process. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Pick a topic that you are interested in — perhaps in your major field or a subject you have always wanted to know more about.
  2. Pick a topic about which you need to learn. If you feel that you are already an expert in your topic, your research will be an afterthought, and you may not be as open to looking at all sides of an issue.
  3. Pick a topic about which you can make an argument.
  4. Pick a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow.
  5. Once you have an area that interests you, get a broad overview of the subject. See the box below for some places to get a good overview.
  6. Begin to list keywords on your topic. Keywords are very important when it comes to locating the best sources possible. Good keywords are subject-specific. Keywords such as "study," "find," "source," or "research" are not good keywords because they are not subject-specific. See the box to the left for a worksheet on deriving your keywords.


  • Select ALL EBSCO databases.

  • General index of articles on nearly every topic.

  • A comprehensive database portal which is comprised of several distinct reference databases covering social, scientific, health, historic, business, economic, political and global issues.

Visual Aids

Database Tutorials


Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

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Books provide an excellent place to begin your research for your speech topic as well as continue to improve your speaking skills. 

Finding Books

Library of Congress Classifications

These Library of Congress classification areas may be useful when browsing the shelves at Steelman Library for materials on history. They are found on the second floor. You can use these same classifications in the reference section on the first (main) floor. 

  • BF -- Counseling
  • H -- Social Sciences
  • R -- Medicine

Find Books in WorldCat


Librarian Selected Books

Cover Image for Resonate by Nancy Duarte
Resonate by Nancy Duarte

ISBN: 9780470632017
Publication Date: 2010-09-28

Reveals the underlying story form of all great presentations that will not only create impact, but will move people to action. Presentations are meant to inform, inspire, and persuade audiences. So why then do so many audiences leave feeling like they've wasted their time?

Cover Image for An Essential Guide to Public Speaking by Quentin J. Schultze
An Essential Guide to Public Speaking by Quentin J. Schultze

ISBN: 9781493422449
Publication Date: 2020-03-17

Communication expert and popular speaker Quentin Schultze offers a practical, accessible, and inspiring guide to public speaking, showing readers how to serve their audiences with faith, skill, and virtue.

Cover Image for Harvard Business Review Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Harvard Business Review Staff
Harvard Business Review Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Harvard Business Review Staff

ISBN: 9781422172919
Publication Date: Not Available

Are you preparing an important presentation? Does public speaking make your face flush and your heart race? Are you struggling to create a concise, powerful argument? Packed with practical advice on everything from structuring content to overcoming stage fright, this guide will give you the tools and confidence you need to master public speaking.

Cover Image for Oral Communication by Kathryn Sue Young; Howard Paul Travis
Oral Communication by Kathryn Sue Young; Howard Paul Travis

ISBN: 9781478635796
Publication Date: 2017-11-15

Every day we communicate in our professional and personal lives to initiate or improve relationships, get what we want, function in teams, and learn new things. The success of these interactions depends on the ability to be effective in conveying messages.

Cover Image for DataStory by Nancy Duarte
DataStory by Nancy Duarte

ISBN: 9781940858982
Publication Date: 2019-09-17

Scientists have proven that stories make the brain light up in ways no other form of communication does. Using story frameworks as a communication device for data will help make your recommendations stick and be acted on.

Cover Image for Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte
Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte

ISBN: 9780596522346
Publication Date: 2008-09-16

No matter where you are on the organizational ladder, the odds are high that you've delivered a high-stakes presentation to your peers, your boss, your customers, or the general public. Presentation software is one of the few tools that requires professionals to think visually on an almost daily basis. But unlike verbal skills, effective visual expression is not easy, natural, or actively taught in schools or business training programs.

Cover Image for Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Start with Why by Simon Sinek

ISBN: 9781591846444
Publication Date: 2011-12-27

The inspirational bestseller that ignited a movement and asked us to find our WHY. Discover the book that is captivating millions on TikTok and that served as the basis for one of the most popular TED Talks of all time--with more than 56 million views and counting.

Cover Image for On Rhetoric by Aristotle; George A. Kennedy (Translator)
On Rhetoric by Aristotle; George A. Kennedy (Translator)

ISBN: 0195305094
Publication Date: 2006-06-13

This new edition of George A. Kennedy's highly acclaimed translation and commentary offers the most faithful English version ever published of On Rhetoric. Based on careful study of the Greek text and informed by the best modern scholarship, the second edition has been fully revised and updated.

Cover Image for Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

ISBN: 9780978440749
Publication Date: 2016-02-29

In Michael Bungay Stanier's The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact. Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills.

APA Templates

Additional Citation Information

Guides to APA Style


APA 7 Manual

Zotero-Citation Management

It is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources.

Zotero works with Microsoft Word to create your bibliography for you.

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Visit our Library Faculty & Staff Contact page

Database Error

Off campus users may experience a loading issue when using the Article Search box or specific databases. Please use an Incognito Browser while the issue is being fixed.