Using academic studies to back up your point not only anchors your point, but also adds credibility to it.
Research studies, if told well, are usually very fascinating because they arouse people’s curiosity. Consider the following portion of Dan Pink’s TED talk where he talks about Dan Ariely’s research:
“Dan Ariely, one of the great economists of our time, he and three colleagues, did a study of some MIT students. They gave these MIT students a bunch of games, games that involved creativity, and motor skills, and concentration. And the offered them, for performance, three levels of rewards: small reward, medium reward, large reward. If you do really well you get the large reward, on down.
As long as the task involved only mechanical skill bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance. Okay? But one the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance.”
Research studies by nature try to answer questions.
Thus, an explanation of the research study followed by the words “What happened?” raises the audience’s curiosity.
If you are able to use an academic study in your speech to anchor your point, use it.
Explain the study in the form of a story, and use rhetorical questions to build people’s curiosity before you reveal the results.