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FYS 102: Roots and Regions (Bigelow): Get Started

Research tips and resources for "Best City" assignment


Indy downtown skyline

Skyline of Indianapolis (photo in Public Domain)

Get Started

Welcome to the LibGuide for First Year Seminar (FYS)--Roots and Regions:  Cultural Regionalism in American Life.    The information linked on this guide will help with research for your third major paper. 

For the place you choose, address the following:

  1. Economy
  2. Politics
  3. Culture
  4. Physical Geography

To gain a deep view of the place you select, consult the following: 

  • History and other Academic books
  • Novels and Short Stories
  • Academic (Scholarly) Journal Articles
  • News articles
  • Films & Television Shows

Search for Information

  • Make things easier on yourself:  Before you start your research, set up free accounts to request and save information from libraries worldwide.  Be sure to check for free accounts in databases too. 
  • Librarians prepare research guides (LibGuides) on a variety of topics.  You can try to find a LibGuide related to local news, local history, local politics, etc., with a Google search using a key phrase (ex:  "local politics"), combined with the city name and the word "LibGuide."  Example:  "local politics" Chicago LibGuide 
  • Note:  You will be able to access free websites linked on another university's LibGuide, but you cannot access that university's databases, unless they are also available at Butler.  Check the "Database A to Z" listing on the Butler Libraries website or ask your Librarian for suggestions.

Find books, articles, media, and more at Butler and beyond

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  • Key subject terms:  small cities, suburbs, cities and towns, city and town life, community life, rural-urban migration, neighborhoods, metropolitan areas, urban renewal, state fiction, city fiction.   Also try combining state and city names and key terms such as economy, culture, politics, etc.
  • Try the Advanced Search option, and search by by Subject for more focused results. ex:  su:cities and town
  • You can look for books worldwide and get them from another library using free interlibrary loan. If you need information right away, limit the results to "Butler University Libraries."
  • Use the Format option to limit results to Books or another type of source


  • Use the "Advanced Search" option in databases to help you combine keywords.
  • Databases will assign "subject terms" to articles.  If you find a great article, use the subject terms listed with the article as leads.  Example:  "cities and towns" is a helpful subject term phrase for your research.
  • Use the database's thesaurus and list of publications to identify key search terms and publications on your topic.
  • Timesaver:  Use database tools to refine or narrow your search results by date, by subject, by publication, etc. The limiter tools are often found in the left column of the search results page. 
  • Try searching multiple databases at one time (ex:  EBSCO databases).
  • Google can be helpful for finding state/city historical societies and related publications. 

Go to these sites to find statistics on a city's population, income, households, businesses, and more. 


  • Look for local economic development sites or state data centers for a city or state. Many data centers are hosted by the state library or universities.
  • For articles related to a city's economy, see local newspapers and business magazines (see the Academic/News article databases listed on this LibGuide.)


1.  Use the Advanced Search option in Google.  This allows you to get more specific search results because you can select filters such as dates, file types (ex:  ppt), and domains (ex:  .edu). You will find the Advanced Search option under "Settings" on the Google basic search screen.

2.  Use the Search Tools option that appears below the search box on the results page.  This allows you to narrow or refine your results.

3.  When searching for business information, try combining your keywords with words such as "report" or "study" to learn about research conducted on your topic.

4.  Find trade or professional associations by adding the word "association" to your business keyword search.

See the table below for other shortcuts you can use in a Google search to refine your results.

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Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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