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Speech 101: Recommended Resources

Types of Sources

Book - more in-depth but dated information

Encyclopedia - general overviews of topics 

Peer-reviewed journal article - up-to-date information on a topic; peer-review increases the reliability of the information

Magazine article - up-to-date information, often not very reliable and/or biased

Newspaper article - most up-to-date information on news stories; due to deadlines, information may be inaccurate

Government document - information gathered by a government intended for its own use or use by the public

Pamphlet - brief information that may be inaccurate or biased

Advertisement - always biased information

Webpage - wide variety of quality of information and it may be difficult to tell how old the information is

Blogs, message boards, discussion lists, chat rooms, e-mails - these vary widely in quality

Types of information need

Why do you need the information?

  • Have you been diagnosed with a disease and need to know about treatments?
  • Are you trying to win a bet about who won your high school's football game yesterday?
  • Do you have a 4-5 minute speech to give on a topic?
  • Do you want to write a dissertation to finish up a Ph.D?

What kind of information will satisfy your need?

  • If accuracy is important, look for books published by academic or scholarly publishers as well as articles from peer-reviewed or other academic journals.
  • If timeliness is important, especially for a news source, check out newspapers and news magazines.
  • If depth of coverage is important, check out books.
  • If speed of answer is important (e.g. for quiz night), check out web pages

Librarian for Communication Studies & Theatre

Morgan Sederburg's picture
Morgan Sederburg
SBL 123 Box 2115
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57007
(605) 688-5955


Books are useful for both general overviews of an issue and for in-depth analysis, depending on the book. You can search for books using the Library Quick Search and selecting "Books" under the "Sources" tab. 

When you click on a specific book, scroll down and see if there is a Table of Contents with chapter titles. You might not need to read an entire book, just the one or two chapters that address your topic. 


Databases are collections of scholarly articles, book chapters, reviews, and other information sources that have been selected by experts. Use them to find high-quality, in-depth information on specific topics. Below is a list of good places to start depending on your topic. Be aware that aspects of your topic might fall under more than one discipline. The full list of databases can be found here.   

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