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COM 120: Public Discourse: Local Research

Research for Public Discourse

Welcome to your library guide to COM 120: Public Discourse! I designed this guide with your research needs in mind. On the Wider Research tab (above), you'll find recommendations for databases, websites, and other places to search for information about your problem. On this page, you'll find resources for finding information at the local level, no matter where your local level is. The rest of the guide has additional information to support your research. Spend some time exploring it!

If you need a refresher on using the library, consult our Library FAQs. We also have a guide on how to do research well - use it to brush up and expand your research skills! If you need help finding books, consult this guide (or ask anyone who works in the library). Finally, we also have a guide on how to cite sources.

Research in the Town Square


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Local Information Sources

These are the main kinds of organizations and groups that will have the kind of local information you're researching, depending on your topic. I've also included ways to find this information. Reach out to Julie if you need ideas or get stuck.

  • Town/City Government:
    • Most towns will have an online government page where you should be able to find  info about how the town may/may not be addressing your problem.
    • Poke around to see if there are departments or agencies or task forces discussing your problem.
    • Meeting minutes are your friend! Look for meeting minutes from town or city councils or tasks forces. 
  • Local News Outlets:
    •  Does your community have a local newspaper? What about a local television station? Check out their web pages to see if they've been discussing your problem.
    • To find local news sources, consult the Newspapers tab (above) for more information.
  • School District or College: 
    • if your problem exists primarily within local schools, browse the website for the school district to see what information they have available. Do the same for any higher education institutions you are investigating - most will have links to meeting minutes, student newspapers, alumni magazines, offices & people who are involved in the problem.
    • See the Education tab above for more information on how to research education institutions.
  • Other interested groups:
    • Are there local nonprofits, faith communities or organized groups that might be discussing your problem? Search online to locate relevant ones for your community, including social media channels.
    • Local newspaper articles are also a great way to find these, as interested individuals are often interviewed for these kinds of articles.
  • Public Library:
    • Your local library will be an excellent source for finding local information. Librarians know the communities they serve, so they will be able to point you to local resources you may not have considered. They can also help you access local materials.
    • Give them a call or see if their website has an online contact form or email.


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Julie Gilbert
Hello! I look forward to working with you. If you have any questions about research, an assignment, or the library in general, please contact me via email or make an appointment. You can reach any of the reference librarians at folke @ or via the Ask Us! button on the library's homepage.
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