Your task in this project is to learn about the speaker. You should read general
biographies but in addition strive to answer the questions below.
Klumpp and Read, pp. 8-9.
Questions to Ask
- When was the speaker born? Where?
- What do we know about the speaker's childhood? Describe the household in
which s/he grew up. Poor? Wealthy? What were his/her parents like?
- What kind of an education did the speaker have?
- How did the speaker learn to speak? How was s/he educated as a speaker?
- What was the speaker's life work? How did this influence his/her speaking?
- Were there noted characteristics of the speaker's rhetoric?
- How did the speaker get involved in public life? What were his/her purposes
in public life?
- What were the major achievements of the speaker's life?
- How important were the speaker's contributions to our society?
Strategies for Research
- I would start by reading short general biographies. You can probably access
these sufficiently on the web. Look particularly at Wikipaedia. Remember,
however, that these are not well vetted information, so don't be surprised
if you find they are exaggerated or even untrue.
- Now work into more specific information. Someone in the group might want
to read the latest biography of the speaker or the group might want to split
this biography into pieces. Notice which other biographies this latest one
cites repeatedly. Begin to investigate them.
- Now turn specifically to the questions above. Can you answer them? Are the
answers well established and agreed upon by biographers. Spread your work
out into additional biographies at this point and use indexes to find answers
to these questions.
- Now sit down as a group and share your findings. If you find that there
are holes in your research, return to the library.
Preparing Your Oral Report
You will have fifteen minutes to present your findings. As a group, decide
what things are important to report to the class. Formulate those into a report.
Decide how you will present it orally. Time the presentation. You will be on
the clock. Check with the criteria for the oral
report to make certain you have planned a satisfactory presentation.
Preparing Your Bibliography
Select the 10-20 sources that when combined into a full bibliography meet the
criteria specified for the assignment. You do
not report all sources you consulted but select those when taken together best
reflect your oral report. Remember, judging the sufficiency of your bibliography
does not involve counting but meeting these criteria. Review the annotations
to make certain they reflect the required information for each source. Then
execute the honors pledge and hand it in.