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COM101: Basic Speech Communication: Informative speech

Pre-searching activities

Freewriting or Concept Mapping

1.  Using a blank sheet of paper, set a timer for 10 minutes and write down as much as you can about your topic using one of these strategies:

Freewriting - write down everything that comes to mind, without worrying about spelling, grammar, etc. The goal isn't to put together a perfect paragraph, it's just to write continuously, and get your ideas out

Concept Mapping - write your topic in the center of your paper. Write down related ideas and further details around the central topic, and draw connections between them. This brainstorming strategy helps you visualize connections in your ideas

2.  Read over your work, and highlight any useful ideas and important pieces of information you'd like to include in your speech. If your topic is too broad, also highlight potential ways to narrow it down.

3.  Write down 3-4 questions about your topic. Think about what you'd like to know more about - these questions can guide your search for outside source.

Identifying Keywords

1.  Write your topic/question on a piece of paper. First identify the most important concepts in your topic o question and circle or write down those words.

2.  Next try to expand beyond words taken straight from your topic or question. Think of synonyms, related ideas, specific people, places, broader and narrower terms, etc. If one of your keywords is a short phrase, like "head injury" or "study abroad" try putting it in quotation marks. When you search a phrase in quotes the database will look for that exact phrase rather than just those two words.

3.  When you search, try out different combinations, and make note of which keyword combinations yield the most relevant results

Suggested Databases


Don't forget, you don't need to use the whole book. Want to use just a chapter? Let us scan it for you. Fill out this form and bring it and the book up to the front (circulation) desk and we'll scan it and email it to you.

UD Catalog

Enter term(s)

Advanced Search

Citation Guide links

Citing sources correctly is important to any research project, whether it be a paper, presentation, or speech. Citation styles govern more than just the 'Works Cited' page. They provide guidance on citations, in-text citations, formatting the paper, title pages, and more. Each style has slightly different formatting, but most require the same information. The following guides and tools will help you format your projects correctly.

Searching EBSCO databases

Academic Search Premier is a general database that contains both popular and scholarly articles from a variety of disciplines and sources. Great place to start if you need to confirm the viability of a topic.

The tips in this video will apply to most other EBSCO databases as well, including SocINDEX, ERIC, , and more. Subject specific databases like those may have some special features like unique limiters, but otherwise they will function the same way. The name of the database will be listed above the search bar:

Searching JSTOR

JSTOR is a general database that contains primarily full-text scholarly articles from a variety of disciplines. It differs from other UD databases in the fact that it searches the entire full-text of the articles, but has few options for limiting searching and no subject headings. This database is particularly useful when you already know some specifics about your topic.

Searching the library catalog

The library catalog contains records for where to find all of the materials we physically own in the library: books, movies, board games, etc. It also contains links to all the e-books and streaming documentaries we own. We share this catalog with libraries around the world which allows us to get print items we don't own from other libraries, but this doesn't apply to e-books.