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English Subject Guide: English 9: Freshman English



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ENG. 9: Persuasive Speech Assignment 2023

Ted-Talk Style Persuasive Speech Assignment


  • learn to efficiently locate useful sources for your assignment within our databases
  • use Gale: Opposing Viewpoints and The New York Times to find good results
  • evaluate the credibility and bias of a source
  • use lateral reading to evaluate web sources, and understand why this is an important skill

Useful strategies for searching within Gale Opposing Viewpoints:

Start with a question or a topic.

Ex:  Should TikTok be banned nationwide?

Brainstorm a list of keywords and phrases relevant to your topic. Be sure to think up some synonyms!

Use quotation marks for exact phrases:

  • "social media"
  • "national security"
  • "data privacy"

Use truncation by adding an asterisk (*) to catch all endings of a word:

  • secur* finds secure, securely, security, etc.

Now think of additional keywords or synonyms to stack that could be useful:

  • privacy
  • China
  • censorship
  • cyberattack
  • ByteDance (this is the company that owns TikTok)

Q:  Do these skills work in Google, or other databases?
Be persistent!  Good searches take skill and practice. You'll use these skills all the time in the Upper School and far beyond.


What are Databases?

Many of our databases require a login and password - check the link to the left to get started!

Here are some examples of some solid searches from these two resources:

Gale Opposing Viewpoints

New York Times

Web Searching
When you're searching with Google, used the Advanced Search feature. 

Lateral Reading
Find out what it is, and why you should use this really fast, smart technique when searching for web sources.

Practice Lateral Reading!

Media Bias Chart
Every source you read will have a bias. Some are up front about their bias, and others try to hide it.

Things to know:

  • Investigate the author of an article. What is their background? Are they an expert, or quite knowledgeable?  Is their education / degrees relevant to the subject they are writing about?
  • Check the journal/website organization/ magazine's credibility using the Media Bias chart below. You can also use lateral reading to learn about the reputation and bias of an organization. 


Your US Librarian

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Sue Phillips
Upper School Library
503.297.1894 x4550 (circulation desk); (503)297-1894 x4100 (voicemail)