8.5 Enrichment

Discussion Questions

  1. How do academic sources convey more credibility? What is the value of nonacademic sources?
  2. When are primary sources more suitable than secondary sources? When are secondary sources more beneficial?
  3. If a book is published by a major publishing company, is it an academic source? Why or why not?
  4. What are the consequences of plagiarism here at OSU?


  1. With a partner, find a politically-oriented website and analyze the material using George’s (2008) six questions for evaluating sources  found in section 8.3. What does your analysis say about the material on the website? Discuss.
  2. With a group of classmates, discuss which of Menager-Beeley and Paulos (2009) twelve strategies in section 8.4 for avoiding plagiarism you think might be most useful during speech writing?  What can you do to overcome and avoid plagiarism?
  3. With a partner, find an academic and a nonacademic source about the same topic. Discuss the differences in the writing style. How useful is the content in each source? Which source has more authority? Why?

        Case Study

        With a group of classmates, read the following scenario below and respond to the questions. Jonathan sat staring at his computer screen. The previous two days had been the most disastrous weekend of his entire life. First, his girlfriend broke up with him on Friday and informed him that she was dating his best friend behind his back. Then he got a phone call from his mother informing him that his childhood dog had been hit by a car. And if that was not enough, his car died on the way to work, and since it was his third unexcused absence from work, he was fired.

        In the midst of all these crises, Jonathan was supposed to be preparing his persuasive speech for his public speaking class. Admittedly, Jonathan had  two weeks to work on the speech, but he had not made time to get around to it and thought he could pull it together over the weekend. Now at 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning, he finally got a chance to sit down at his computer to prepare the speech he was giving in nine and a half hours.

        His topic was prison reform. He searched through a number of websites and finally found one that seemed really relevant. As he read through the first paragraph, he thought to himself, this is exactly what I want to say. After two paragraphs the information just stopped, and the website asked him to pay $29.95 for the rest of the speech. Without even realizing it, Jonathan had found a speech mill website. Jonathan found himself reaching for his wallet thinking, well it says what I want it to say, so why not?

          • If you were a student in Jonathan’s class and he confided in you that he had used a speech mill for his speech, how would you react?
          • If you were Jonathan, what ethical choices could you have made?
          • Is it ever ethical to use a speech written by a speech mill?



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