University Library & Learning Resources Center

SPE 205 - Public Speaking
Kim Baker

Reference Sources Articles Books Citing Your Sources

The purpose of this course research guide is to acquaint you with some of the resources in the University Library useful for doing research on your informative and persuasive speech topics. Should you have questions, stop by the Reference Desk on the first floor. You may also call the Reference Desk at (334) 229-4110 during the hours the Library is open.

Reference Sources

Sources in the Library's Reference Collection and similar sources online are a great place to start your research. They'll provide background information on your topic and can help you find brief factual information quickly.

As you explore these sources, write down words that describe your topic. You'll be able to use these later when you search for articles and books. Also make a note of people and organizations related to your topic. As you continue with your research, you may find that you need to return to these reference sources for additional information.


General encyclopedias look at many different subject areas. You've probably used this type of encyclopedia for research projects before and may even have one, for example the World Book, at home. Several general encyclopedias are located in the Reference area on the first floor. You might also want to try an online encyclopedia like:

Subject encyclopedias focus on specific subject areas. Below are a few examples of these encyclopedias. Ask at the Main Reference Desk on the first floor for assistance with finding a subject encyclopedia that is appropriate for your speech topic.

  • Encyclopedia of Education
    Main Reference: LB 15 .E47 2003
  • Women's Issues
    Main Reference: HQ 1115. W66 1997
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine
    available online through Health & Wellness Resource Center (ASU)

CQ Researcher

Each CQ Researcher (ASU) report focuses on a single topic related to social, economic, political, health, or environmental issues. They provide a chronological overview and detail recent developments and opposing viewpoints. Each includes a bibliography that can lead you to other sources of information on your topic.

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Magazine & Journal Articles

The best method for finding magazine and journal articles is to use one of the Library's online article databases. These are easily accessible in the residence halls and off campus by clicking on the database name and typing in the information requested. If you need additional assistance with accessing the databases, contact Cedric Davis (334 229-6998) or Randy Curtis (334 229-5604).

Some of the article databases include the entire text of articles. If the text of an article is not available in a database, check for the magazine or journal title in:

  • Serials Solutions (ASU) - Is it available in another database?
  • HORNetCat - Is it available in the Serials Department on the Library's third floor?

An online database for finding articles on a wide variety of topics:

Oh no! The system is down. What do I do now?

Don't despair. The Library subscribes to print indexes where you can find information on articles that may be in the Serials Department. You are probably already familiar with this index.

  • Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature
    Serials Department: 3rd floor

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Because of their length, books can provide a more in-depth look at topics than articles do.

  • HORNetCat - for finding books in the Library
  • netLibrary (ASU) - access to the full text of books online

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Citing Your Sources

A copy of the Chicago Manual of Style is available at the Main Reference Desk on the first floor of the Library. Additional assistance is also available online.

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Course Research Guides | Information Literacy Program | Information Literacy Calendar

University Library & Learning Resources Center | Alabama State University

Alabama State University
University Library & Learning Resources Center
Authored by: Barbara Hightower, Information Literacy Librarian
All contents copyright 2003-04, ASU. All rights reserved.
Revised by: Marsha V. Taylor, Septermber 13, 2004