Citing sources while researching for a speech is an important, yet overlooked skill. This skill can help you develop your speech and avoid plagiarism. Learn the tips and tricks for citing sources and researching in this lesson!

Citing Sources While Researching for a Speech

Kristen is preparing a persuasive speech for her class. She has decided she wants to give a speech about allowing napping in the workplace. She begins to research her speech, but she has a lot of trouble keeping up with her research, remembering what she read, and grouping her research into topics. She can solve this by taking notes and citing her sources while she researches. In this lesson, you will learn about different ways of taking notes, different types of note taking, and how to cite sources as you are researching.

Note Taking Materials

First, there are many ways you can take notes while researching for a speech. You can use:

  • Notecards
  • Paper
  • Technology (Evernote, OneNote, etc.)

Or a combination of the three. Once you’ve gathered the majority of your research, you will want to make a preliminary Works Cited page and number your resources, like this. Even if you don’t fully format this page, make sure you include all essential information just in case you need to find this information again. Try to include:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Publication
  • Date

Take a look at this notecard. There isn’t one perfect way of creating a notecard, but this is a great place to start until you find what works for you. You can do the same thing in your notebook or on loose leaf paper, especially if you are worried about keeping up with all of the notecards you create. You can also use applications, like Evernote and Microsoft’s OneNote, to take notes and keep track of your information. You can create a note with a master list of your sources, like this. Then, you can collect your resources and save them to your cloud-based system, like this.

Once you’ve gathered your research, you can take notes in the systems just like you would a notecard. The advantage to using technology to track your resources is it allows you to have access to your research and your notes anywhere you have internet access.

Types of Note Taking

Next, there are different ways you can take notes while researching. The most common ones are:

  • Bullet points
  • Summarizing
  • Quotations

You can use a combination of these techniques, depending on the research you find. First, bullet points are a great way to organize your information. If you are writing a list of facts that you find, bullet points will help you separate this information.

Second, summarize big pieces of information as you find it. I use the rule of three words: if I am summarizing information and can’t find another way to reword sections of information that are more than three words long, then I put those words in quotations so I can cite them properly. If you have more than three words together in your summary that match the research, then you have to be very careful that you cite this information to avoid plagiarism.

Third, while you are taking notes keep track of the quotations you want to use in your speeches. Your quotations shouldn’t be too long, so keep it short and concise. You can write down quotations that you want to use in your speech in your notes, just make sure you put quotation marks around it.

Citing Sources While Researching

Finally, you’ll need to cite your sources while you are taking notes and doing your research. This will help you identify your sources later on when putting together your speech.

  • Tracking your sources
  • Using citations from databases
  • Inserting citations into your outline

You already know about tracking your sources. Remember that as you conduct your research you need to create a list of all of your sources. This will help if you have a source requirement for your speech. The next thing you need to know about when citing your research is the required format for your speech. There are many ways you can format your citations, but the two most popular citation formats are the American Psychological Association, or APA, and the Modern Language Association, or MLA. Some of the differences between the two are:

  • In MLA, your list of sources will be titled Works Cited, and you will list the author by full last name and full first name. You do not have to have a title page when using MLA, but your in-text citations will include the full name of the author, and the page number in parenthesis.
  • In APA, your list of sources will be titled References and you will list the author by full last name and the initial of the first name. You must have a title page when using APA, and your in-text citations will include the last name of the author and the publication date in parenthesis.

When using a search engine to do your research, you can quickly maintain a list of source information by locating the citation or bibliographic references. And LexisNexis, an academic database, gives you excellent information here. MLA and APA formatting are often changing, so you need to double check your citations before submitting your final draft.

Once you have your notes and citations on your research, you can use all of the subtopics to help you build an outline for your speech. Once you have your main points, you can separate your research into subtopics that will go with each main point – use the supporting materials that you’ve found to support each subtopic and main point.

Lesson Summary

If Kristin uses these tricks to help organize and cite sources as she is researching, she can develop her speech more efficiently and prevent making mistakes that could cause her to plagiarize. Remember, you can use notecards, paper, or technology (Evernote and OneNote), or a combination of the three to take notes as you are researching.

You’ll want to create a preliminary Works Cited page that includes the author, title, publication and the date. Taking notes, whether it’s with a notecard, paper, or technology, will help you begin to divide your research into sub categories and identify supporting materials.

Remember, you can take notes by bullet points, summarizing, quotations, etc. Whether it’s APA or MLA, taking notes and tracking your sources will help you cite your sources in your outline and avoid plagiarizing in your speech. And it helps you organize your topics to create a speech quickly and efficiently!

Learning Outcomes

Once you’re done with the video, you should have the ability to:

  • Understand how to cite sources in a speech
  • List different note taking materials
  • Describe the types of note taking
  • Remember to cite sources while you’re researching and recall how to cite using APA and MLA