Sources of evidence should be cited both when you quote someone word-for-word and when you paraphrase what someone said or wrote. If ideas or data are used without citing the source it is plagiarism. General knowledge does not need to be documented, however. (If you’re in doubt, cite the source.) Citing your sources also helps enhance your credibility by indicating you have studied your subject.
The first time you introduce a source of evidence you should STATE THE SOURCE’S NAME AND QUALIFICATIONS (if appropriate) before YOU PRESENT THE INFORMATION. You don’t have to include the publication or the date, unless that information would be important to help the audience evaluate your evidence. For example,
“Memory expert Dr. Elizabeth Loftus of the University of Washington says . . .”
“Historian Theodore H. White, author of ‘The Making of the President,’ provides an example . . .”
“In October 2005 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported . . .”
After the first citation of a source you can refer to the source by only the last name, prior to presenting the information. For example,
“Dr. Loftus says . . .” or “Loftus says . . .”
“According to White . . .”
Remember that you can cite the same source several times during the speech. As long as you clearly cite the author by name each time you cite it will count towards the number you’re required to have in your speech and it helps you to avoid being suspected of plagiarism.
DO NOT use the names of articles or books as your source’s qualifications. Find out what makes the person who wrote the book an expert on the subject and use that.
The words “dot com,” “dot org,” and “dot net” should rarely if ever be in your speeches. First, because you’re generally supposed to use better sources of evidence for this class, second, because a web site never wrote anything.
Find out who wrote the information if you can, or cite the organization if you must. So you are allowed to say, “According to the American Red Cross . . .” but not “According to Red Cross dot org . . .”
As you prepare your speech remember that part of your grade will be based on how well you support your ideas. If you do not cite sources of information I will have to assume that you are merely stating your opinion, are making up facts, or are plagiarizing. None of those assumptions are good for you, so please be sure to cite your sources.