For your research project this year, you will pick a pivotal speech from American history to research and analyze. The first step of this project is an Annotated Bibliography. This is the first step of your research process, which involves locating, citing, reading, and annotating sources. The Annotated Bibliography is simply a step between finding sources and writing the actual research paper. So why are we doing this? Annotated Bibliographies are a common assignment in college. Your professors will want to see that you can locate and evaluate sources before moving on to the next step of writing your paper.

For this assignment, you will complete the following steps:

1. Choose the speech you want to analyze. You may choose one of the suggested speeches listed below or you may find a speech you would like to analyze. Your teacher MUST approve any speech you choose that is not on this list, and the speech must be comparable to those listed below. A great resource to check out is the list of Top 100 Speeches on

2. Research the rhetorical situation that “inspired” the speech. You are expected to find four scholarly, credible sources for your annotated bibliography. The first source will be the speech itself. Try to find a source that includes both the written transcript as well as a video of the speech (if available). Speeches are delivered for a live audience, so actually listening to the speech is an important part of your research. Your other sources will explore the speaker and the rhetorical situation of the speech.

  • The speech you have selected
  • Biographical information about the speaker
  • Information about the rhetorical situation (context, audience, persona, purpose)
  • Information about the events or details referenced in the speech

3. Create an Annotated Bibliography that cites, summarizes, and evaluates your sources. The final product will count as an Academic Achievement grade for this six weeks. Your Annotated Bibliography should follow MLA formatting (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, MLA heading, last name and page number in the header, title (centered), and one-inch margins). Find links to detailed instructions and an example below:

4. Be sure that the speech you choose explores a topic that you would be interested in writing a complete research paper about! We will be working on this research project for more than a month, so pick something of interest to you.