COMM 1113 Fundamentals in Oral Communication

Introduction to the NSU Libraries

How is the NSU library organized?

Physical Overview to the Library Tutorial
Library of Congress

Why do research?

Research can lead to information; information can lead to knowledge, and knowledge is powerful. All of the informational resources available originated from someone being curious about something, exploring it, and sharing the findings.

What is authority and why is it important?

Experts in a field are individuals who might have degrees in a field, work in the discipline, and have published in the subject area.  Their opinions can be very useful in finding credible sources.  For instance, anyone can write Wikipedia articles, but only experts can contribute to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Keep the following concepts in mind when choosing and using resources for research:

1. Identify authors who are outstanding in their fields, determine the credentials of the author. Does the author have a degree in the field, is the author a professor?
2. Date of publication--is it recent? On Web pages, do the links work?
3. Does the publisher have a good reputation? Is it published by a professional association or university press? Is the journal refereed? On Web pages, check the domain (.edu is educational, .gov is government, .com is commercial, .net is network, .org is organizational)
4. How was the resource received by the critics?
5. Completeness of the material. Does the source have an index, bibliography?
6. Is the language slanted or biased?
7. Does it include well known facts or research studies? Is the information complete, accurate, objective?
8. What is the purpose of the resource?  Is it for the general public, children, scholars? Is the goal to market persuade, educate?

How is information organized and from where do articles originate?

The cycle of information is an interesting one.  Research starts with an idea.  Someone becomes curious about something and wants to explore it.  Literature reviews are conducted, empirical evidence is gathered.  The researcher may wish to cross disciplinary lines and take a literary theory and apply it to another field.  The researcher writes an article.  If the article adds to the body of knowledge or presents a new concept, a journal in that discipline might be interested in publishing it. Article submissions go through a reviewing process in which multiple reviewers will read and comment on the article.  This is an example of a refereed journal article. If it passes the review process, the article is published in the journal.  Indexers read journal articles and assign subject headings to the articles and place the citation in indexes (such as MLA Bibliography). Researchers comb indexes to find articles, and the whole cycle starts over.  This is a cycle that occurs right here at NSU.  Our faculty and students are publishing.  You can become a part of the process, too. <
The Flow of Information (from the University System of Georgia) depicts how information about an event can be represented in different types of resources. Understanding how information is disseminated helps to know where to look and the attributes of each format.

How do I choose a topic?

Listen to the news, read newspapers, surf the Web, and consider your personal interests to identify potential topics.  Read encyclopedia (general encyclopedias are in the Reference area, call number "AE") articles to get background information about a topic.  Consider which types of resources (newspapers, books, etc.) would include information on your topic.  See the chart below for types of resources. 

How do I use the databases?

As a topic is identified, choose key terms that describe the topic.  Consider synonyms, as well. Use the Articles and Databases link page to identify useful databases. After selecting a database, use the Help screens for suggestions in using it effectively.  Try the thesaurus to determine subject headings used in the database.  Use boolean logic  to formulate a search strategy.  Go for exactly what you are trying to locate, and broaden the search if nothing is found.  If a subject heading is identified, use it.  When a good resource is found, check to see how it is indexed (what subject headings are used).

Where can I find Information about giving a Speech?

Try the Library Catalog for materials on public speaking.

Where can I find Information for an Informative Speech?

Use the Library Catalog to find books on your topic.  Use the periodical databases for magazine and journal articles.
For example:
Magazines:  Masterfile Premier
                    Readers' Guide

Journals:   Academic Search Premier 

Oklahoma newspapers:  Newsbank

For other subject areas, try the Articles and Databases link.

For Internet sources, try Internet Public Library, the Library's Communication Subject page, or the Library's Subject pages. For a generic search engine, try Google

Where can I find Information for a Persuasive Speech?

Use the same resources as for an informative speech.  In addition to the above tools, try locating statistics to make a point.
Facts on File Ref. D 410.F3

Oklahoma Statistics and Databases
Statistical Abstract of the United States Ready Ref. HA 202
U.S. Census C 3
Statistical Abstract of Oklahoma Ready Ref. HA 585.O452  (Origins)
Quotations can also be a useful way to persuade an audience.  Try Bartlett's Familiar Quotations Ref. PN 6081.B27.
Internet Public Library:  Quotations

How can I Acquire Materials not Available at NSU?

The ILLiad system is available for requesting books and articles not available at NSU.  Allow approximately two weeks for requests.  Print orders will be available at the Circulation Desk.

How do I Find Help for Citing Resources?

Try the KnightCite Bibliography Machine and the Purdue OWL.

All of the databases are available from off-site with an NSU NT password and userid.

Return to Department of Communication & Art Library page

    SophiaBeverley Threatt, MLS, MA
    Instructor of Library Services
    Languages and Literature and Communication, Art, & Theatre
    Resource Coordinator
    (918) 444-3267

Page maintained by: SB Threatt
Last Updated: 08/09/2012