Mrs. Brown

Freshman English

Research Unit

Speech on a Controversial Issue


You have just concluded your reading of a non-fiction text.  As a group, you have discussed different aspects of this text, including real world connections, outside research, thematic ideas and powerful quotes.  These discussions have helped you generate a clear topic and two focused research questions that will guide your research using the school databases.  Let’s review the process we will follow for this unit.

Research and Bibliography

In order to better understand a specific event or issue related to the book you’re reading, you will use the NCHS Library Media Center databases to find three sources about an event or issue highlighted in your non-fiction book (that means you will NOT use Google to search for sources). You get to choose the specific topic you will research, but it must be related to the non-fiction book you are reading.  

You will use find three sources on your topic:

You will find, print and read at least one news article and one page on a website, in which you write margin annotations to show your thinking while reading.  You will also watch one video on your topic, for which you will take listening notes on a separate piece of paper.

You will type a bibliography for the three sources you will use.

You will hand in your research process for a grade, including the research question you pose, the sources you choose to read, the active reading annotations of the sources, and the bibliography.  


You have done research on a controversial issue related to the book you are reading.  By synthesizing information on the topic, you have formed an opinion, and now it’s time to share your thoughts with your peers.  During class, you will deliver a speech to your classmates that outlines the issue you have researched and that persuasively argues a specific way you think we should handle the issue.  In your speech, you will incorporate information from the three sources you read.

The speech should be 3-4 minutes in length.  You will type the speech and you will hand in the written hard copy to me (Mrs. Brown) before you deliver the speech to the class.  (That means you will need two copies of your speech: one to hand to Mrs. Brown and one to read from during class).

Remember to turn in your bibliography with your speech!

Suggested Outline for Your Speech:

Hook—Begin with a startling statistic, a question, or a plausible scenario to which your listeners can relate.  What do your listeners care about in their lives?  How can you draw them into this issue and make them want to hear more about it?

Topic and Background—Relate your hook to the topic of your speech and explain how this is a controversial issue: what is the major problem you’re pointing out to us?  What are the two sides of the debate?  End this paragraph by posing a question that the rest of your speech will answer.

Your Position—Persuade your listeners to think a certain way on the issue by referring to specific data, expert opinion, and anecdotes that demonstrate that your opinion on how the issue should be handled makes the most sense.

Potential Solution—What solutions did you uncover about what needs to happen to help solve this problem?  What organizations, governments, or individuals can offer help for this issue?  

Call to Action—Finish your speech with a specific action you want your listeners to take on this issue to create change.  What can each of us do to contribute to the solution?

Tips on How to Incorporate Outside Research into Your Speech:

As you prepare a reader to hear specific information from one of the sources you read in your research, you need to give the reader some background and context by which to understand the quote.  

Explain the context of the quote (who, what, where and when):

In an article that features a female marine who returned home from combat with one limb, author Maggie McDermott draws a distinction between women who don’t experience combat situations and women who serve on the frontlines. She states, “…..                  

You may also explain the background of the speaker to demonstrate that this is a reliable source:

In a chapter of former Secretary of Defense Maggie McDermott’s book, Cheney Declares War Imminent, she asserts that the health of Cheney’s personal finances relied on the US going to war with Saddam Hussein.  “…                                

According to Maggie McDermott, head psychiatrist at the VA hospital in the Bronx, the best way to treat patients with PTSD is with a combination of therapy and medication. “…                                                                                                   

Name: _______________________

Speech on a Controversial Issue of our Time        

Freshman English

Mrs. Brown

Your speech will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Total Score: