Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

CMST 220 Public Speaking (Reiser): Home

This guide will help students in Megan Reiser's Public Speaking class select a topic and find material for informative & persuasive speeches.

Browsing Current News for Topic Ideas

Here is an example of looking at current news stories and generating assignment topics from the front page of The Seattle Times newspaper homepage-- keep in mind that some topics will be more informative (outlining a new or relatively unknown topic), while others will be more argumentative (any "opinion" piece, or a story discussing what "should" be done about an issue).

Some examples from the headlines below:

  • "Bus cuts, delayed projects, rising fears: funding cuts will bring years of pain to transit projects"
    • Sample informative topic: How much does the Puget Sound area use public transit? How does that compare to other US cities?
    • Sample persuasive topic: Voters in the Puget Sound should (or: should not) prioritize public transit projects over other government projects.
  • "Parents gamble on virtual schools amid closures. Who stands to gain?"
    • Sample persuasive topic: Virtual online schooling should (or: should not) be expanded because...
  • "Makoto Imai masters traditional Japanese woodworking and construction in Washington and around the world." 
    • Sample informative topic: What is traditional Japanese woodworking?

Seattle Times banner

seattle times front page may 10 2020 topics from headlines example

Welcome to the library subject guide for Megan Reiser's Public Speaking class.

To inform or persuade an audience requires factual information and supporting evidence, and research can help!

Info Speech Research Lesson

What is Research?

Research is a process.

Step 1: Understand your assignment

  • Read your assignment
  • Ask questions
  • List starting requirements (number of sources, essay type, etc.)

Step 2: Start with a general topic idea 

  • Read background information in Reference works and learn
  • Ask questions
  • Identify key concepts and key words
  • Identify key issues and different points of view
  • Refine and focus your topic 

Step 3: Find information

  • Use keywords to search for information in books, articles, and other sources
  • Add to your keywords list: broader terms, narrower terms, related terms
  • Use smart search strategies 

Step 4: Evaluate

  • Assess your information sources for authority and bias
  • Are they good choices for your academic project?

Step 5: Cite Your Sources

  • Cite your sources 
  • Summarize and evaluate your sources in an annotated bibliography