Speech Study Guide

of retrieval, a quote can be particularly influential to an audience because it allows them to identify with the speaker. Government documents may be useful if a topic is related to public policy. There are many different sources a speaker may utilize, depending on their topic. These sources may be found through online resources or libraries. 6.3 Evaluating Secondary Sources Due to the wealth of information a speaker may encounter, it is pertinent to have strategies to sift through information. Skimming is a method of rapidly going through a source to determine what is covered and how to use that information. In order to effectively use skimming, it is important to read the table of contents, index, and review the headings and visuals in useful chapters. A speaker may also look at the abstract , which is a short paragraph summarizing the research findings. The primary categories a source should fulfill are validity, accuracy, and reliability. Valid sources convey factual information that can be counted on as true. Mainline news publications use “fact- checker” to verify information before publication. Accurate sources attempt to present unbiased information and include a balanced discussion of controversial topics. Reliable sources are sources that have a history of presenting valid and accurate information. To determine if a source is valid, accurate, or reliable there are four criteria that may help a speaker to evaluate the source: authority, objectivity, currency, and relevance. Authority is the first test of a source to determine the expertise of the author and/or the reputation of the publishing organization. When an author is listed, a speaker should check the author’s credentials via biographical references. It is possible to see what an author has published in a specific field. With online sources, the credibility of the information may not be clear and will depend on the speaker’s ability to trust the information depending on evaluations of the sponsoring organizations. If a speaker is unsure of the authority of a source it should not be used. Objectivity refers to a source’s ability to not express one particular attitude, perspective, or viewpoint on a topic. If a source appears to be slanted in one direction or another it should not be used. Documents that have been published by businesses, government, or public interest groups should be scrutinized for obvious biases or public relations fronts. To identify the objectivity of a source, a speaker should examine the preface and thesis statements because these will reveal the author’s point of view. Currency refers to how current a source is. The more current the source is, the better it is. One of the main reasons for using web-based sources is that they often provide more up-to-date information than printed sources. To determine how current a source is the date of publication needs to be observed. Without dates of publication there is no way to tell how current the information in the source is.


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