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Speech 101: How to Search for Information

Preparing to search for information

Write your Research Statement

Let's say you decide to focus on the war on crime as a speech topic.

What are the actions that have been taken to combat crime? Do the same actions work in combating all kinds of crime? Do the same actions work in combating crime in all areas? Has crime gone down consistently since the "war on crime" began? What are the economic impacts of the war on crime? What are the social impacts of the war on crime? Is there a racial element to the war on crime? Is there a class element to the war on crime?

Think about your topic and what you want to know about it. Compose a question to guide you in your research process. A research question for this topic could be: How has the war on crime effected different economic classes differently?

This question provides focus as you begin your research. You may change or refine your research question as you learn more about your topic.

Pick out the concepts within that topic

Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3
War on Crime Economic Classes Effects

Define keywords for each of your concepts

Look for synonyms, broader terms, and narrower terms.

Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3
War on crime Economic classes Effects
policing Socioeconomic classes felon rate (this might be a specific effect)
criminal justice Upper class economic impact
  Rich employability

Choose the terms you want to begin searching

Choose a database and begin searching

Record the way you search for later reference

Refer to your previous searches and keep searching

You should constantly be refining your searches and searching for more literature. The only thing that ends this search is the conclusion of the project!

Speeches - Watch Others for Inspiration

Choosing a database to search - Ebsco Discovery Service

You can search for many types of documents using Ebsco Discovery Services and the search box below:

Search for Books, Government Documents, Articles, and more
Limit Your Results

Reading the results of your search

Types of results from Ebsco Discovery Services

Ebsco Discovery Services provides access to many different types of sources. Below are icons Ebsco uses for the most common types.

Academic Journal Iconebook iconbook iconmagazine or trade publication icon

Parts of the Record

Summary (short) records in the list:

See also the help page from Ebsco.

Other Useful Databases

The CQ Researcher gives a great overview of a topic of current interest. Published since 1923, each issue focuses on one issue of interest at the time it was published. This resource can help you find a topic as well as serve as a great source for your research. Be aware of the date of publication, especially if you are supposed to use a current topic for your speech.

Briggs Library also has many subject specific databases that may be of interest. The best way to find those is to use our subject guides to identify the various databases that are good for a particular discipline. Use the search box below to search your department or college.

Librarian for Communication Studies & Theatre

Elizabeth Fox's picture
Elizabeth Fox
Briggs Library, Box 2115
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57007-1098
Room 123
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