Research Primer

Once you get your committee assignments and country, how do you start researching? It can be daunting task, but the difference between an engaging debate and a boring committee is often how well you research the topic, and how far you can carry new ideas towards creative and effective resolutions. So where do you start?


One of the first things you should do is read the background guide. These background guides were compiled by some incredibly smart people, and our chairs have put in a lot of work towards making sure you have a great base to start your research. In addition to the research guide, we have included references to many of the sources that the chairs used; those would also be good starting places to get a good handle on your topic.

For more in depth analysis, there are a ton of great resources on general international relations topics. Some recommendations include The Council on Foreign Relations, The Economist, and Foreign Policy.


Once you begin getting a good sense of the topic at hand, it's time to start understanding the nuances of your committee, and understanding the powers and limitations of your committee. The UNDP can't issue sanctions, and the League of Arab States has no jurisdiction over Canada. Realizing what the powers and scope of your committee will make sure your working papers and resolutions don't get rejected by the chair. While its easy to get started with Wikipedia, the United Nations website has some excellent resources, from historic to current resolutions. Reading some real UN resolutions from the committee will be a good way to understand historically where your committee falls in the grand scheme of international relations.


Oftentimes, the hardest part of research is figuring out what your country's position is. While it will be very rare that your nation will issue a blanket statement on a specific topic, there are many ways to deduce what that may be. First, you should learn as much about the country in general as possible. How large is the country, what are its major industries, how does the government operate, who are its allies and enemies? Building a country profile (from websites like the CIA World Factbook or BBC Country Profiles) will help you be prepared for whatever deviations your committee may take. Additionally, some delegations have had great luck emailing embassies and ambassadors, and sometimes the United States State Department will have white papers giving great analysis on different governments (with a degree of bias for a United States point of view). Finally, with the amazing powers of the internet, its much easier to access and read local newspapers from your country. Reach out and look for non-traditional resources, often the more obscure items can give a nugget of insight that will give you an edge in committee.