Douglas Marshall
Arts and Humanities, Business and Communication, Communication
Material Type:
College / Upper Division
  • LOUIS Peer Review
  • Public Speaking
  • Public Speaking Skills
  • Speech
  • Speech Communication
  • louis-peer-review
    Creative Commons Attribution

    Education Standards

    Public Speaking: The Virtual Text Review


    This is a review of Public Speaking: The Virtual Text: completed by Douglas Marshall, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Southern University at New Orleans 


    The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary.

    Public Speaking: The Virtual Text is the ideal comprehensive textbook for a basic public speaking course. All the major pieces that I look for in a speech text are included with the addition of some that are not offered on a broad basis. For instance, the chapter group presentations were a welcomed surprise.  

    Content Accuracy

    Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased.

    I find the content to be very accurate. As I have stated in most reviews of public speaking texts, I always check for the author’s definition of “persuasion” when assessing the accuracy of a public speaking textbook. This textbook uses what I consider to be one of the clearest and understandable from Osborn & Osborn. 

    Relevance Longevity

    Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement.

     Overall, I am impressed with the longevity. If a public speaking textbook is done properly, it could be used in any age. It is up to the instructor to make it real for the current historical moment. This textbook provides material that is timeless and agreed upon among communication scholars. The references made in this text are slightly problematic and give the material a dated feel even though the basic concepts are not. In addition, I think that many of the citations are also dated. Overall, this text could use a refresh.  


    The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used.

    Overall, this text portrays the level of clarity that one would expect in an entry level public speaking textbook. It manages to offer clear terminology and jargon is explained well when used. I would not that this does change from one chapter to the next considering that multiple authors are utilized. It is sometimes a challenge to match clarity when writing in this way. 


    The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.

    I find the overall feel and look of this text to be consistent. As I discussed earlier, each chapter is written by different groups of authors. That seems to create the opportunities for consistency issues. I found these issues to be very rare, but the author’s voices are different and hard to always make to feel consistent. 


    The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

    This text is easy to read and planned well. These chapters can easily be sectioned out to make for smaller lessons and activities. I wish that some of the headings were easier to follow and that is something that I will discuss further in the next section. However, it would be easy to offer smaller sections to the student if headings were clearer.  

    Organization Structure Flow

    The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion.

    The organizational flow is smart. The content of each chapter flows well, but I do wish that headings were a little more well-structured. These chapters deliver content in blocks that are easy to follow. Each chapter concludes with review activities/questions, glossary, and references. This is welcomed and helpful.  


    The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader.

    The interface of this this textbook is not welcoming. The entry screen looks old and out of date. If I had not taken the time to investigate the richness offered by the chapters, I would have passed on to another textbook. The interface is also quite cumbersome with too many clicks needed to download chapters. The navigation issue is concerning. It is best to make things easy for students to uncover.  

    Grammatical Errors

    The text contains no grammatical errors.

    I offer this piece of the review with a strong caveat; it is not my strength to search for grammatical errors. I read this text and found nothing problematic. 

    Cultural Relevance

    The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

    The cultural references are not offensive or problematic, but they are not timely. It is my position that the intro to public speaking textbook should be as vague as possible allowing the professor to make the topical, cultural references. Students will turn away from material that seems old and look at it as irrelevant. It is always best to allow the instructor to make these connections rather than make references that are out of place and time.