A Note about Research

Katie Gruber

Conducting & Evaluating your Research


In the previous chapter, the importance of lateral reading was highlighted.

Lateral reading is an effective way to verify your sources as you research. As you begin compiling information to support your argument, verify the credibility and make sure you’re taking into account potential biases. The CRAAP test is an efficient (and fun) way of evaluating resources.


Check out this CRAAP Test doc from California State University, Chico or refer to this video Evaluating Information using the CRAAP Test.


Additionally, you likely already know that most news and media outlets typically skew a certain way – left or right. Reviewing the Interactive Media Bias Chart is a great way to better understand the political leanings of various media outlets and ensure that you are not researching from only one particular angle (or political agenda). This chart is updated annually to best reflect currency.


If you are ever in doubt, ask your instructor and/or a librarian!  Librarians are wonderful resources who are knowledgeable in all things research-related! If you can’t find the answer, they are sure to know where to go.


Finally, we know the importance of researching and orally citing our sources (as discussed in Chapter 3). A useful acronym may help you to remember what to include in your oral source citations: TAD, for Title, Author, Date. While you do not necessarily need to use this specific order each time you cite, (for example, you could use TDA, ATD, ADT, etc) this may help you keep track of the relevant information to share.


While it may feel “awkward” to orally cite sources – after all, this isn’t something we do in our everyday conversations – we hope it is clear by now how important research and citing sources are to a successful speech. Even those on late-night talk shows and entertainment shows cite sources. See clips from Trevor Noah or John Oliver, or here’s an example from Adam Conover’s show Adam Ruins Everything:







Citing Sources in APA Style

In writing, you should cite your sources using the style indicated by your instructor or organization. You’ll find that different disciplines have different styles. Many of you may be familiar with MLA. In this class and many of your other Communication courses, we use APA. That is because APA style prioritizes dates. Dates are helpful to us because they indicate the recency of the information and can relate to its quality.

In your written assignments, you should (1) cite your sources in-text when information comes from a source (whether summarized, paraphrased, or a direct quote) and (2) list your sources in a references section at the end of your paper.

Here is the basic format in APA style:


Any sources referenced should be listed on their own page at the end of a paper. You should title the page “References.” Your references should be then listed in alphabetical order. References should have a hanging indent of 0.5, which means that they are indented after the first line.

Below are some common reference types:

Can’t find a date? Then you use n.d. in place of the date. Make sure you double check around the website or article though. Most often when students tell me there is no date, I go to the website and quickly locate it.

Another common mistake I see is related to capitalization in article titles. Only the first word and any proper nouns should be capitalized in article titles in your references. For more types of references and examples see: “Reference Examples.

Lastly, be careful of online generators for references. You can use them as a start, but you still need to generally know what to look for to correct them.






The Citing Sources in APA Style section came from Appendix B of Small Group Communication Copyright © 2020 by Jasmine R. Linabary, Ph.D., licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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Principles of Public Speaking Copyright © 2022 by Katie Gruber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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