Skip to Main Content

Oral Citation

Why cite your sources during a speech?


An oral citation conveys the reliability, validity and currency of your information. Citing your sources orally lets your audience know that you have researched your topic.


Failure to provide an oral citation is considered a form of plagiarism, even if you cite your sources in a written outline, bibliography, works cited page or list of references.

When you are delivering a speech, you must provide an oral citation for any words, information or ideas that are not your own.  

Understanding quoting and paraphrasing


You are quoting a source when you say the information from that source word for word. When you use a quote in your speech, you must identify the source. You also must let the audience know that you are quoting.


In an article in the November, 2004 issue of the South African Journal of Psychology, Dr. Derek Hook, a professor of social psychology at the London School of Economics, says, and I quote, “Racism comprises a set of representations of the other in terms of negatively evaluative contents.”


You are paraphrasing a source when you refer to someone else’s idea, but you say that idea in your own words. Before you talk about the idea, you must refer to the source.


According to the “Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet,” last updated March 9th, 2011 by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, symptoms of Tourette syndrome include uncontrolled blinking, grimacing and shoulder shrugging.

What should an oral citation include?


Mention the author’s name, along with credentials to establish that author as a credible source.


In the March 27th, 2011 issue of the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winning author and foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman wrote…


Say the title of a book, magazine, journal or web site. You should identify the type of publication and provide a comment regarding credibility if the publication is not widely recognized.


In the November 10th, 2006 issue of Practice Nurse, the leading peer-reviewed journal for primary care nurses, author Sue Lyon describes shingles as…

Titles of articles do not necessarily have to be mentioned, unless you are using several articles from the same source.


Say the date that a book, journal, magazine or newspaper was published. If you are using information from an interview, give the date when the person was interviewed.

If you are using information from a website that doesn’t clearly show a date on the document, say the date that the web page was last updated and/or the date you accessed the website.


The web page titled “The History of Figs,” dated 2011, provided by the California Fig Advisory Board, reveals varied uses of the fig: as a digestive aid, a treatment for skin pigmentation diseases, and a coffee substitute.