Speech Citation

• It's possible to be guilty of plagiarism when you're delivering a speech, just as it's possible to be guilty of plagiarism when you're writing a term paper. In order to avoid a charge of plagiarism, you need to be careful to cite the sources of your information. Keep in mind that paraphrasing a source is not enough to absolve you of a charge of plagiarism. You're just as guilty of plagiarism if you use someone else's ideas without proper citation as if you use someone else's exact words.

• The good news is that oral citations are much simpler to do correctly than are term-paper citations. In most cases, all you need to include is (a) an indication of the source and (b) an indication of the recency of the information you're citing. In some special cases, you may need to add (c) a qualifier.

• INDICATION OF THE SOURCE: If you're citing a book, give either the name of the book or the name of the author or both, and use the word "book." If you're citing from a newspaper or magazine, all you need is the name of the publication and the word "article" or "story" you don't need to include the name of the article or the name of the author! If you're citing from a website, all you need to do is use the word "website" and tell whose website it is the American Cancer Society, Time magazine, the National Traffic Safety Council you don't need all the http://www.whatever.com stuff! If you're citing from a pamphlet or brochure, just tell who produced it and use the word "pamphlet" or "brochure." And, if you're citing from an interview you conducted yourself, just use the word "interview" or a phrase such as "I spoke with" and the name of the person you interviewed.

• INDICATION OF RECENCY: If you're citing a book, give the year of publication of the edition or printing you consulted. If you're citing from a newspaper or magazine, give the publication date. If you're citing from a website, give the "last updated" date, usually available on the website's home page. For a pamphlet or brochure, give the most recent copyright year. And for an interview, tell when you spoke with your source. The indication of recency doesn't necessarily need to be exact, since you know when the speech is being heard. So it's okay to say such things as "updated yesterday" or "published last year," or even "recently published." Over the years that I've been teaching this course, I've noticed that students often forget to include the indication of recency for their oral citations. Be aware that incomplete citations will not count towards the minimum requirement of two citations from two different kinds of source and that means that your quality grade can't be an A and you'll lose the protection of the 70% cushion.

• QUALIFIER: If the source is likely to be unfamiliar to your audience, you may need to use qualifying language which would never be needed in a term-paper citation. For example, your audience is almost certainly familiar with the Washington Post and the New York Times, but is probably unfamiliar with the Svenska Dagbladet or Het Parool. So it'd be enough to cite "an article from yesterday's Washington Post," but not enough to cite "an article from yesterday's Svenska Dagbladet." Instead, you'd want to say something like "an article from yesterday's Svenska Dagbladet, which is the leading independent newspaper of Sweden."

• In a term paper, no matter which formatting system you're using MLA, APA, any of the others the citation always comes after the information being cited, either immediately (as parenthetical notation), at the bottom of the page (as a footnote), or at the end of the term paper (as an endnote). In a speech, however, the order reverses: the citation comes before the information.

• So here's an example of a legitimate speech citation: "In her 1997 book It Takes a Village, Hillary Rodham Clinton pointed out that over 80% of American children are raised in one-parent households." First the citation, which includes an indication of source and an indication of recency, and then the information.

• Important Note: If you don't meet the requirement for oral citations in your speech, the speech's quality grade will be lower than an A, and you will lose the protection of the 70% cushion. In order to earn an A on this speech (and guarantee a quality grade of at least a C), one requirement (not the only one!) is that your speech must include at least two legitimate oral citations from two different types of source out of the six types explained in class.


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