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COMM100 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking - Hurley: The Assignment

For students in Mary Hurley's Public Speaking class

The Assignment

Your Assignment


Purpose: To pay tribute to your favorite person who has had significant historical impact; this MUST be a real, historically significant human being. NO fictional characters!  You may consider persons significant to politics, science, religion, industry, the arts, the military, etc. (For information about special occasion speeches, see PSP, CH 17, 

Your speech should be an organized, well researched and delivered tribute that praises and celebrates your subject, relates an important illustration from his/her life, and explains his/her significance to history.

Time Limit:          3-5 minutes


•             One quotation                                                                  

•             One extended, actual example                                                 

•             Three credible, complete, and different source citations

Getting an early start is crucial to your success, as is seeking assistance from MJC research librarians. You can seek individual assistance at the Research Help Desk, or you can make a group appointment with an MJC librarian. Research Help Desk and appointments are available on both East and West Campus. For all the contact options, go to Ask A Librarian

Cite Your Sources

For Information on Citing Your Sources in MLA, check our Ready, Set, Cite (MLA) Research Guide

For Information on Citing Your Sources in APA, check our Ready, Set, Cite (APA) Research Guide

Three Steps to a Successful Project

1. Begin your project by doing some background reading on your historical figure. Preliminary reading helps you:

  • Achieve a basic understanding of your subject's life, achievements, and in which ways they were significant 
  • Identify interesting specifics (important illustrations from their life)
  • Acquire vital search terms you need in order to explore your topic more fully

2. Find sources on the subject, their achievements, and their historical significance that you identified in Step 1. 

  • Do a comprehensive search utilizing all the sources below; leave no stone unturned
  • Print/save/email the sources you find as you go to avoid backtracking
  • Read your sources several times, highlighting relevant information and making notes as you go.
  • If you find sources that will help others in your class; SHARE THEM! 
  • If you have trouble finding the appropriate type or number of sources: MEET WITH A RESEARCH LIBRARIAN

3. Write your outline and prepare your presentation

  • Make an appointment with Writing Center staff at least once. They will help you get started, proceed, and/or finish. This is a free service that you should always utilize to maximize your success. 
  • Utilize the MJC Library & Learning Center's FORMAT & CITE page to aid with APA or MLA. A research librarian can provide face-to-face assistance with formatting and citing as well. 
  • Identify the main points to share in your oral presentation. If needed, find engaging audio/video files that will help the class fully understand the significance or achievements of your subject.  

Finding Your Sources

Background Sources

These sources are great choices when looking for an overview of your person or their achievement(s), which is a perfect place to begin your project. 

Biographical Research

Biography in Context is a great resource to visit for biographical research. You can also try Newsmaker Profiles (World News Digest) and if you're researching musicians, try Oxford Music Online. Both the EBSCOhost and Gale databases will also help you acquire sources from books, journals, and periodicals. 

Additional Print Sources

Need Help?

Contact the Librarian

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Stella Beratlis
she, her, hers
Need help now? We have Research Drop-In Hours Monday - Saturday during Spring 2023: go to the Ask a Librarian page to get immediate help.
Website Skype Contact: beratliss

Tutoring & Writing Center


Our peer tutors and Learning Center staff are available online to help you in person and online.

Check out our Tutoring page and our Writing Center page for more information and to set up an online appointment.


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  • Research Help: (209) 575-6230
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