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COMM 230

Resources for students in Public Speaking courses. Updated Spring 2021.

How to Narrow Your Topic

Picking your topic IS research. Use these ideas to help you narrow your topic and make it meaningful for your audience. 

  • Do some searching before you decide
  • Use the limiters in library resources
    • Date, geographic location, subject
  • Use Wikipedia and Google as a starting point 
  • Think about what interests you
  • Start with a broad search and skim and scan the results for ways you can narrow it further.
    • Education > Technology in education >> Augmented reality in education >>> Using Augmented Reality to Make Math Come to Life

Remember to Cite!

Make sure to cite everything you use, including images, videos, and primary sources!

You can embed/download any digital videos, images, or other sources you find via our library resources. This includes anything you access through the PML Search, databases, or catalog. 

Most resources in government resources, such as the Library of Congress and the National Archives, are either in the public domain or contain no use restrictions. You can also download and use these types of sources. 

Make sure you check any copyright restrictions for other websites you find out on the open web. If you need help, please don't hesitate to ask. Copyright can get tricky, even if you aren't using the resources for profit. I can help you figure out any use restrictions and navigate copyright. 


See below for an example of an image citation, found through the Library of Congress.

Agricultural Laborer, photograph by John Thomson circa 1870

Thomson, J. (c. 1870). Agricultural laborer [Photograph]. Retrieved from