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How do I find sources for my speeches?

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Find academic sources

ResearchMinute Video: Recognizing Scholarly and Popular Sources

Watch this video to learn how to recognize scholarly and popular sources.

Infographic: Identify Scholarly Sources in Three Steps

identify scholarly sources infographic

Click on the image to view full size.

Find websites

Be choosy when you search for web sources, as most websites tend to provide only a shallow treatment of topics, and that is not appropriate for college level work. Evaluate websites carefully  using the CRAAP method.

For arguments, some instructors allow the use of  Make sure to ask your instructor's opinion before you use this website.

Find images and videos

When looking for images or videos to use in class projects, keep the following in mind. 

  • Images and videos can be found in library databases or on the Web. 
  • The most important thing to remember when selecting images for use is that much of what you find on the Web belongs to someone and is not free to use.   
  • To avoid having to decide what's OK to use and what isn't, stick to resources that provide free to use images and videos (see links to free image/video sites below). ‚Äč
  • To run a general search for images and videos you can use, search the Openverse site. 
  • Do not list your video or image source in the Works Cited/References section.  Instead, provide attribution underneath or next to the video or image, or verbally. See example of attribution below.


Sunflower at a field in Köcking, market town Eberndorf, district Völkermarkt, Carinthia, Austria, EU. Photographer:Johann Jaritz. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


How sourcing works: an example

  • Students often try to find sources with information that they can basically repeat on their essays and speeches, or sources that prove the same exact points they're trying to make. This is an ineffective and incorrect way to use sources, and may constitute plagiarism.
  • To use sources effectively, tie them to points/arguments you make in your speech or essay. Each source supports or provides information for something you will be saying in your speech/writing in your essay.  See the example below.

Essay/Speech topic: Cricket (the sport)

Examples of How To Use Sources:
What I want to say/discuss/write Source I will use
I want to define what cricket is I will get the definition from this article, which comes from Gale eBooks.
I want to explain how the game works

These two sources contain descriptions of the game, and I will take some information from each for my speech.

I want to talk about women in cricket.

This source has information about women in cricket:

  • For the Love of Cricket, by Graham Tarrant
I want to add some statistics about women in cricket

I will get my statistics about women in cricket from this source:

I want to discuss cricket in the USA

These two sources have information about cricket in the USA. I will take some information from each of these.

I want to mention how cricket can be a force for good, so I will discuss the outreach program "Cricket for Good"

This site contains information about "Cricket for Good"

I want to argue that playing cricket is more than just fun; it also provides many other benefits. 

This source contains information about some of the benefits of playing sports that go beyond the physical. I will apply some of the information from this article to my topic of cricket.


Citing sources

To cite sources, use the citation style required by your instructor; typically this is either the MLA style or the APA style.  Avoid using citation generators (including the one that comes with Word), as they all introduce errors, and if you don't know how to cite from scratch, you will not recognize an error from the citation generator.

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