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CMST 1: Fundamentals of Public Speaking: The Research Process

A guide to help students with their informative and persuasive speeches in CMST 1.

Starting the Research Process

Research projects can be intimidating, but it helps to have a plan of action in place. Breaking it down by steps, even if you go back and forth between the steps a few times, can make the process much less overwhelming. Read through the below steps to get some basic tips that support the research process for your upcoming speeches!

Step One Read & Understand the Assignment

Before starting an assignment, make sure that you have thoroughly read it and have asked your professor for clarification on any parts that may be confusing. Create a "plan of action" or "To Do" list with dates to make the assignment less overwhelming.

View CMST 1 Assignments
Step One

Step Two Choose a Good Topic

A good topic is one that is in line with the assignment guidelines, interesting to you, and hopefully, interesting to your audience. Make sure the topic you choose for each speech assignment is appropriate for the speech type (i.e., the informative topic is something to inform others about, and the persuasive is something that you will have a call to action you will persuade listeners to follow).

View Topic Examples
Step One

Step Three Find Sources

Use sources to learn about a topic and then to help establish your credibility as you write or present on it. Use sources in your speech by paraphrasing sentences or paragraphs; or by summarizing the entire item. Different types of sources provide different types of information about a topic.  Often, the best sources are behind the paywall (not freely accessible) and need to be purchased or accessed for free through the library. The most recommended sources to use for this project are Articles, Videos, and Books.

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Step Three

Step Four Evaluate Sources

Evaluate each resource that you come across, including websites, by asking the following questions:

  • Current? Is this current to my topic?
  • References? Does the author or entity support their statements with data or citations?
  • Appropriate? Is the length and type of information presented appropriately for a college-level project?
  • Authority? Is the author or entity an expert and qualified to write on this topic?
  • Authenticity? Does the source of information and all of its supporting documentation seem truthful and legitimate?
  • Purpose? Is this item written for the general public or scholarly reasons?


View Evaluating Sources Tutorial
Step Four

Step Five Cite Sources

Use sources that you found in your speech by paraphrasing sentences or paragraphs; or by summarizing the entire item. You must always make sure to use an in-speech citation after each source used, even if you are not directly quoting the source. Then have the full citation for the item you used in your Works Cited or References list to avoid PLAGIARISM.

What is Plagiarism? Citation Help Noodletools
Step Five