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Public Speaking: Books and Databases

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Best Databases for Speech Research

Use the database search boxes below to search for articles for your speech.

Database Search Tips

While every database has its own search quirks, there are some general guidelines that you should use for searching any database.

  • Use advanced search; it will give you all of the options for searching within that database.
  • Use more than one search term; this will help to narrow your search.
  • Use quotes around phrases unless you want the database to search for individual words separately.
  • Limit your search to full text documents; it will save you a lot of frustration.
  • Book reviews from publications like Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, or Booklist; these are not helpful unless you are reading the book reviewed.
  • Abstracts; avoid these by doing the full-text search advised above.

Not finding what you're looking for? Try these tips:

  • Check your spelling.
  • Get rid of unnecessary words, especially if you are using quotes around phrases.
  • Try using other key words.
  • Use broader terms.

Types of Sources in Databases

Newspaper articles: Reports about newsworthy events. Generally these articles provide factual information regarding an event, person, social issue, or governmental issue.

Editorials: These are articles found in newspapers and magazines. They mix facts with personal opinion. 

Magazine articles:  These can be factual and opinion articles.  Magazines are for popular topics/interest and can be found in grocery stores, convenience stores and book stores. 

Academic Journals: Magazines that contain scholarly articles written by professionals and experts in a particular field of study.  Often the articles are published to report research results.  Most articles have been peer reviewed meaning that other experts in that field have reviewed and commented on the research.

Primary Source Documents: An original document, speech or other sort of evidence written or created during a particular time.  Examples: letters, diaries, autobiographies, speeches, official records.

Books:  These may include reference books and encyclopedias. 

Periodicals: These can be either magazines or academic journals.