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Communication 100

Find and evaluate scholarly research in the social sciences


This guide is designed to help you with your research for your COMM 100 speeches. You will complete an assignment during a class in the library, and your librarian will review the assignment and email you feedback for finding relevant sources.

What is social science research?

When choosing your speech topics, remember that they must be a social science topic. What is social science? In essence, a social science is a discipline that studies human society in some way. Watch the video below for more info. 

Narrowing Your Topic

Questions to Ask When Narrowing your Topic:

When giving a 5 minute speech, you will need to narrow your topic to a manageable scope, so that you're not trying to address too much content. You are also being asked to view your topic through the lens of social sciences research. These are some questions to consider in the process of narrowing down your topic and brainstorming keywords:

  • What is the human aspect of my topic? Why does my topic--or specific aspects of it--matter to individuals and groups in society? Who are those individuals and groups (aka stakeholders)?
  • Why do these issues matter? What is at stake?

It might help to make a mind map of your topic. A mind map is a visual representation of your topic, sort of like an outline. 

UIC Library Tutorial: Constructing a Successful Search

Narrowing a Search: Demonstration of Academic Search Complete

What is a peer-reviewed or scholarly article?

The sources you use for your research must be scholarly or peer-reviewed. What does this mean? Watch the video below for a brief introduction.

Additional Videos on Scholarly Articles

Example exercise