Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Communication and Information Studies



First Advisor

Dr. Deanna Sellnow


This study examined the role service learning might play in increasing students’ public speaking self-efficacy in a required public speaking course. By increasing students’ public speaking mastery experiences with real world audiences and by providing them with additional feedback from community professionals in the audience, a service learning approach might potentially raise students’ perceptions of public speaking selfefficacy beyond what is gained from a public speaking course taught in a traditional way. A repeated measures, quasi-experimental study design with a comparison group was utilized in this study. Participants included 274 students enrolled in service learning public speaking courses and 328 students enrolled in traditionally taught public speaking courses at the University of Kentucky during the fall 2010 semester. Students enrolled in the service learning sections participated in at least 10 hours of service at a local nonprofit agency in lieu of classroom “seat time” over the course of the semester and developed their speech assignments around the experiences they had at the agency. First, this study attempted to provide support for a new measure of public speaking selfefficacy. In addition, it examined the relationship between students’ public speaking selfefficacy and their public speaking skill, as well as whether students enrolled in the service learning sections experienced different levels of public speaking self-efficacy than their non-service learning counterparts. This study also aimed to discover which sources of self-efficacy are most influential for students in developing their public speaking self-efficacy. Finally, this study compared speech performance ratings (including overall speech performance generally and delivery, structure, and content specifically) of students enrolled in service learning sections and students enrolled in traditional sections. Overall, results provided support for a new public speaking selfefficacy scale. In addition, public speaking self-efficacy and skill were weakly correlated. Next, service-learning and non-service learning students did not differ significantly on measures of public speaking self-efficacy or skill. Finally, mastery experiences seemed to have a larger impact on public speaking self-efficacy for servicelearning students than for non-service learning students.

Included in

Communication Commons