Gathering Information

Photo of Albert Szent-Györgyi.
“Research is to see what everyone else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought.” —Albert Szent-Györgyi

After selecting a topic, refining it, outlining its components (general purpose, specific purpose, possible ideas for main points), and taking into consideration the interests of the audience, it is time to add pizzazz to the speech by conducting research. This represents the process of systematically investigating a subject or topic area as a means to gather new facts and information, so in a sense, research helps speakers make their speeches fresh, unique, innovative, and interesting.

The arduous task of gathering information to use in a speech can feel quite challenging in the Information Age due to the overwhelming abundance available. One of the main keys to conducting effective research is to keep the specific purpose in mind when starting. Write or print out the specific purpose and keep it nearby while beginning the quest to seek new and innovative information. This simple practice will prevent wasted time and effort.

Note to Self

For each piece of information you gather and each source you identify, consistently ask yourself two important questions: “Does this evidence support the goal of the speech?” and “Would this audience find it important and appropriate?”

Lastly, start researching as early as possible. This should occur soon after the speaker refines the topic and considers the audience’s needs based on their knowledge and interest levels. Of all the tasks involved in preparing an effective presentation, the two portions requiring the most time and dedicated effort are the research process and rehearsal/practice (covered in Chapter 8).


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Messages that Matter: Public Speaking in the Information Age - Third Edition Copyright © 2023 by North Idaho College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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