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COMS 151: Introduction to Public Speaking
Library Instruction Session, Spring 2009
K. Dabbour
Goal: Introduce students to quality resources for background information for speech
assignments, which includes informative and persuasive speeches.
Mode: Lecture/demonstration and hands-on practice.
Learning outcomes:
At the end of the library instruction session, COMS 151 students will be able to . . .
 Create a search strategy by determining keywords and applying logical connectors.
 Distinguish between scholarly journals and popular periodicals.
 Identify a scholarly journal article by choosing and searching an appropriate database.
 Identify a magazine article by choosing and searching an appropriate database.
 Identify an editorial in a newspaper by choosing and searching an appropriate database.
 Identify books and other Library materials by searching the Library Online Catalog.
 Locate reference information, such as statistics and brief facts, from quality Web sites.
 Determine the authority and accuracy of Internet sites.
 Know where to find information on citation styles and avoiding plagiarism.
 Handouts: copy of and “COMS 151
Information Literacy Exercise”
 Set up student workstations so they are ready to go for hands-on session.
 Assumes a 50 minute session.
 Open library home page and open second browser on and use as lecture outline.
Session Objectives (50 minutes; add highlighted areas for 1.25 hour classes):
1. Introduce self and session:
 Goal of session: Introduce you to quality resources for speech assignments. If you have
had previous library instruction, you will learn how to focus on resources for speech
research. In addition, you can use these sources for your other classes.
 Go over handouts: web page list of resources useful for this class; the information literacy
exercise will be turned in to instructor for credit, either today, or at your next class
 You can follow along on your computer with the demo.
 Additional help is available at the reference desk, via email, and chat services. Show Ask
a Librarian page from the Library home page, or from me (have contact information on
the board).
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2. Ice Breaker: Using the Internet as a Resource
 “How many of you search the Internet for your research assignments?”
 Go to one of the URLs below and ask class to tell how to find out the authority behind
the web site (look for an “about” link) and go over the content.
 Demo fake web site: (pick one):
 (do-it-yourself LASIK surgery)
 (male pregnancy, hospital/university don’t
exist etc.)
 (hello, it’s just water)
 (fake drug for a fake disease)
 Ask the class: Is it a credible source, why or why not? Where do you look to determine
the authority of the web site?
 Since no one is filtering the information on the Internet as is done for library databases, it
is more important to evaluate the quality and accuracy of what you find on the Internet.
 Go to the Critically Evaluating Print and Internet Resources page from
o You can often start to evaluate the credibility of what you find on the Internet by
looking at the URL. Ask the class:
 “What type of site and what is the purpose of a .com, .org, .edu, .gov?
(.com=sell; .org=persuade; .edu=inform; .gov=official government
 “How does the purpose of a web site influence the information
o Authority is important—who or what organization is responsible for this
information and what are their credentials?
o Can you verify this information in another resource, such as a books, journal,
magazine, etc.?
 “Today you are going to learn about library databases that use the Internet as an interface
to access electronic and print information resources. Keep in mind that Google does not
search within these databases since they are password protected. All of these library
databases are available to you 24/7 via the Internet from our home page. You just need
your CSUN user ID and password to access them.”
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3. Search preparation
 Before starting your research, it is important to know what you are searching for by
determining keywords from your speech topic:
o Ask students to volunteer topics and choose one that will illustrate Boolean logic
or use the following: “The effects of video game violence on children.”
o Ask students to identify keywords: (video games, violence, children)
o Ask students to brainstorm synonyms and related words:
 Explain the importance of brainstorming synonyms to help focus searches
if too much and/or irrelevant results are found or expand searches if not
enough information is found.
Example (write on board):
Ask class for
keywords and
write down 1st:
Ask class for
synonyms below
each keyword:
The effects of video game violence on children.
Video game
Video games,
crime, murder,
war, abuse, etc.
Child, adolescents,
teens, youth, etc.
Other search examples:
The effects of media on body image in women.
The effects of global warming on weather.
Choosing the right resource for a speech or other assignment requires being aware of the
o What type of source your instructor wants you to use is #1!
o Click on Choosing the Right Resource(s) link
 Point out when to use different sources
 Go over the definition of a scholarly journal vs. popular
magazines/newspapers and why it is considered important to use
Use for lecture outline.
o Students should use kdabbour/coms151.html to follow along and get into library
o Also, show that all of the databases are linked to from the Library home page
under Databases A-Z or Find Articles and Research Data.
o There are over 130 library databases to choose from, my web page lists those I
consider the most relevant for this class.
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o No time to demonstrate all of them, so if you don’t find enough information in the
databases I am going to cover, please read over the other databases’ descriptions
on the web page and try others.
4. Gale Powersearch
 Explain that search strategies demonstrated in this database can be used in almost any
library database.
 Used for: Articles in journals and magazines, newspapers, reference books, media, and
other sources. About half of the references include full text. Covers most subjects. Good
general database for finding articles for most of your speech assignments and
assignments in general education classes.
 Ask class for a topic or use the sample topic above: effects of video game violence on
children (ask class to identify keywords if not covered above)
o Explain Boolean logic while demonstrating search:
o Search video game violence as an exact phrase and show result
o Search video games AND violence (in separate boxes to show results are
 Discuss using AND in between search terms unless an exact
phrase is really needed. It is good to search exact phrases to
make results more relevant if separating the words would lead
to lots of irrelevant results, e.g., civil war vs. civil AND war.
 Explain that library databases are not usually set up like
Internet search engines: if AND is left out, an exact phrase is
 Discuss truncation: video gam* (retrieves game, games,
gaming), etc.
o Search video gam* AND violen* AND child* (in separate boxes)
o Revise search to show ORing synonyms to increase search results:
 video gam* AND Violen* AND (child* or adolescen* or teen*)
 Search results:
o Magazines tab: default results, general popular periodicals
o Academic journals tab: (still need to limit to peer reviewed if required by
o News tab: limits by section to opinions and editorials in left column. Good for
persuasive speeches. Note: Proquest Newspapers and Lexis Nexis have more
coverage of newspapers and other news sources.
o Books tab: Full text encyclopedias: viewpoint essays (good for persuasive
speeches), topic overview (good for informative speeches).
o Multimedia tab: good for transcripts of news broadcasts (sometimes links to
Podcasts), credible web sites
 Point out the elements of a couple of relevant article citations: author, article title,
periodical title, volume, pages and date, and how this information is needed for their list
of references cited.
 Demo linked full text and Find Text for locating articles.
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Mark, print, email and citation tools formats in APA or MLA (beware of incorrect
Show examples of PDFs of a scholarly journal article and a magazine article to point out
how they are different (presence of cited references, abstract and methodology indicate
research was performed and therefore scholarly).
Click on a relevant citation and explain subject headings assigned to the article
(controlled vocabulary) versus keyword searching.
o Controlled vocabulary terms tell what the article is about; keyword retrieves
words that are mentioned, in the title, abstract, subject headings, etc., even if they
are not what the article is about.
Click on a relevant subject heading and show how it will bring up articles with the same
subject heading assigned to it. Explain that this can be useful to broaden search results or
focus on a new or related topic.
o However, subject headings are often too broad, but can be combined with
keywords to focus search results.
o Search within these results to add keywords to the subject heading.
On the Magazines and News tabs, you can click on narrow results by section/document
type: editorial, which is helpful for persuasive speeches.
5. Hands-on Practice: Students do Questions #1 and #2 on worksheet (5 minutes—go
around and help). Fifty-minute classes will probably not have time to start worksheet.
6. CQ Researcher
 Full-text database of reports on current topics in the news, and social, economic, political
issues, which often come up as information or persuasive speech topics.
 Good for: topic choice, topic overviews, background, pro and con arguments (good for
persuasive speeches), chronology of events, etc.
 Demo Browse topics by subject or date to help choose a topic for a speech;
 Demo search keywords for a known topic (use video games as Quick search)
 Note: not every report is recent, so it might only be good for background information,
therefore, you will need to use other resources to update.
 Show a sample report and point out that this is not a scholarly journal despite the
footnotes and references since journalists rather than researchers write the reports.
Therefore, it is not a peer-reviewed journal.
 Cite Now! feature automatically formats the citation into MLA or APA style
7. Library Catalog
 Books and media; also shows what periodicals we subscribe to by title, both print and
 Provides location, checkout status, and if online, a link (over 30,000 online books)
 Show catalog search screen and search options.
 Search a book and periodical title found in CQ Researcher
o Douglas A. Gentile and Craig A. Anderson, “Violent Video Games: The Effects
on Youth, and Public Policy Implications,” in N. Dowd, et al., Handbook of
Children, Culture and Violence (2006), p. 231.
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o Rauch, Jonathan, “Sex, Lies, and Videogames,” The Atlantic Monthly,
November 2006.
You can also search items you come across in Google, Amazon, textbooks, etc. to see if
we have them. Never pay for your research. If we don’t have it, use Inter Library Loan
(show online form).
You can also use the keyword search: children and video games and violence
o Many results are for government documents, media, as well as books.
o Find a title(s) that seems relevant and look at a full record.
o Click on a LCSH term and explain controlled vocabulary and benefits of
 Controlled vocabulary means the book is about that topic; keyword means
the word(s) appears in the record, but may not be on the topic.
8. Facts, Opinions, and Statistics via the Web
 Point out but don’t demo: online reference books and government reference sources are
also available for background info, e.g., Britannica, etc. besides what you find in
Thomson Gale Powersearch
 Point out but do not demo: Public opinion polls and surveys can give you useful
information for persuasive speeches.
 Point out but don’t demo: American Factfinder,, Statistical Data Sources.
Often, you need statistics for background information for a persuasive/informative
 Go to American Factfinder []
o Use for population, housing, economic, and geographic data.
o Demo: Fact sheet for your community: search your zip code and state. Can also
use to get fact sheets on ethnic groups.
9. Plagiarism and Citation Styles
 Tell class: I know most of you know that you have to cite information you find in books,
articles, and on the Internet in your paper if you quote directly.
 Ask class: However, if you paraphrase or re-write words from a publication or web page
and include it in your own paper, do you have to cite it? [answer: yes] What if it’s
common knowledge, e.g., the Earth is round? [answer: no, but when in doubt, cite it]
 If you need more information on avoiding plagiarism, go to the web sites on the Library
home page under How to Do Library Research or the COMS 151 web page.
 Avoid plagiarism by citing your sources, follow specific style guides: FYI, MLA, APA
cheat sheets are linked to on the How to Do Library Research and COMS 151 web pages.
10. Students do Questions #3, #4, and #5 on worksheet (5 minutes)
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