Incorporating Support with Citations

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the process for citing and integrating support within a speech.
First, watch this video about citing sources verbally withing a speech.

4-Step Process for Incorporating Support with Citations

After you have selected and evaluated your forms of support, it is time to plan how you will present your support orally within your speech. How will you present the information to make it effective? To help you think about using support, use a four-step process: main point, setup, evidence, and analysis.

1. Main Point

First state the point you are trying to make. This point may be the ill, cause, cure, or cost.

2. Setup

The setup is a sentence or phrase in which you explain to your audience where the information you are using came from. You will usually want to name the author, the publication and provide the date.  When discussing the author, you need to clearly explain not only who the author is but also why the author is an expert (if appropriate). Some sources are written by authors who are not experts, so you really don’t need to explain their expertise. In other cases, your audience will already know why the source is an expert, so there is less need to explain why the source is an expert. For example, if giving a speech on current politics in the United States, you probably do not need to explain the expertise of Barack Obama. Here are two different examples:

  1. According to Melanie Smithfield in an article titled “Do It Right, or Do It Now,” published in the June 18, 2009, issue of Time Magazine
  2. According to Roland Smith, a legendary civil rights activist and former chair of the Civil Rights Defense League, in his 2001 book The Path of Peace

In the first example we have an author who wrote an article in a magazine, and in the second one we have an author of a book. In both cases, we provided the information that was necessary to understand where the source was located. The more information we can provide our audiences about our support, the more information our audiences have to evaluate the strength of our arguments.

3. Evidence

Once we have set up the support, the third part is what we call evidence. The execution of support involves actually reading a quotation, paraphrasing a speaker or author’s words, summarizing a speaker or author’s ideas, or providing numerical support. Effective evidence should be seamless and flow easily within the context of your speech. While you want your evidence to make an impact, you also don’t want it to seem overly disjointed. One mistake that some novice public speakers make is that when they start providing evidence, their whole performance changes and the use of evidence looks and sounds awkward. Make sure you practice the execution of your evidence when you rehearse your speech.

4. Analysis

The final stage of using support effectively is the one which many speakers forget: analysis of the support. Too often speakers use support without ever explaining to an audience how they should interpret it. While we don’t want to “talk down” to our listeners, audiences often need to be shown the connection between the support provided and the argument made. Here are three basic steps you can take to ensure your audience will make the connection between your support and your argument:

  1. Summarize the support in your own words (unless you started with a summary).
  2. Specifically tell your audience how the support relates to the argument.
  3. Draw a sensible conclusion based on your support. We cannot leave an audience hanging, so drawing a conclusion helps complete the support package.

Key Takeaways

  • To present support in a speech, use a four-step process: point, setup, evidence, and analysis. First, make your claim or point. The setup explains who the speaker or author is and provides the name of the source and other relevant bibliographic information to the audience. The evidence is the actual delivery of the support. Lastly, a speaker needs to provide analysis explaining how an audience should interpret the support provided.


  1. Choose and analyze a speech from the top one hundred speeches given during the twentieth century ( How does this speaker go through the process for using support?


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