Your listeners can’t simply flip to a reference list to determine what sources you are using during a speech. Orally providing details of your sources shows your work and builds your credibility.

Citing Sources in Speeches

Citing Sources in Speeches (View pdf)
General Guidelines
  • It’s better to over-cite than under-cite. When in doubt, cite it!
  • Give the listener sufficient information to determine if the source is appropriate. To help listeners, provide source information before giving details.
  • Consider contextualizing why an author is being cited.
  • Clearly indicate when you are using a direct quote. Pauses before and after the quote help delineate it from your own words.
  • Have full citation information available in case anyone asks.
  • Images on a PowerPoint or other visual aid can include an indication of source next to the picture.
  • When in doubt, check with your professor about their requirements.
Common Types of Sources
Media Details Sounds Like
Book Author, title, date if relevant As early as his 1964 book titled Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan argued...
News Source Source title, date An October 28, 2016 article on CNN.com...
Scholarly journal article Journal title, date, author An article by Ann Owen and Anne Phillips in the December 2015 issue of the Journal of Happiness studies reports...
Website Organization's name, specific page, date (date posted if available; otherwise, date accessed) According to the Hamilton College website's Admissions page, updated in October 2016...

Avoiding Plagiarism

“Any form of academic dishonesty is a serious offense in an academic community.”1 In giving a speech, oral group report, poster session and/or when publishing/posting a speech manuscript, the following parts of the Hamilton College Honor Code are most pertinent and your responsibility:

Plagiarism: Failure to acknowledge ideas or phrases used in any paper, exercise or project submitted in a course but gained from another person. Guidelines for proper documentation are available from many sources, including the “Essentials of Writing,” provided to all students and available at the Writing Center.

Self-plagiarism: the submission of one piece of work in more than one course without the explicit permission of the instructors involved.

Cooperative or collaborative effort in coursework without acknowledgment or the explicit permission of the instructor. This is not meant to inhibit discussion and debate of academic subjects either inside or outside the classroom.

The submission of work as one’s own that has been prepared by another person.

Forgery or falsification of academic documents. The chair of the Honor Court, after consultation with the dean of students, may remand such cases to the Judicial Board.2 In giving an oral presentation, you can avoid plagiarism by following the same rigor of citing sources described in the Writing Center handout Avoiding Plagiarism: “Put simply, you plagiarize if you present other writer's words and ideas as your own. You do not plagiarize if you ‘provide citations for all direct quotations and paraphrases, for borrowed ideas, and for facts that do not belong to general knowledge.’”3

1 Hamilton College Student Handbook, Honor Code: Section II.
2 Hamilton College Student Handbook, Honor Code: Section II.
3 Williams, S., Avoiding Plagiarism. In this citation Williams quotes Crews, F. & VanSant, A.J. (1984). The Random House Handbook (4th ed.). NY: Random House. p. 407.
4 Sprague, J. & Stuart, D. (1996).  The Speaker's Handbook (4th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace & Co. p. 68.


Office / Department Name

Oral Communication Center

Contact Name

Amy Gaffney

Oral Communication Center Director

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