Model UN Research
In Model UN, you’ll be discussing some of the hundreds of topics available, which can be intimidating! Most research sourcing talking about these complex global issues are written for scholars and professionals, not students! However, we’re hoping to make that process much easier for you. By focusing on the five main sections of research for Model UN, you can walk into committee armed with all the knowledge you need to represent your country and write an incredible resolution.
When researching for Model UN, you should think about five different types of research:
- Country Profile
- Topic Background
- Past International Action
- Country Policy
- Possible Solutions
To get started with research, it’s important to understand the country you’re representing- where it is, who lives there, who your allies are, what type of government your country has, and more. Together, the answers to these countries comprise your “Country Profile”. Here are some guiding questions to get you started:
What is your country’s official name?
What region of the world is your country located in?
Who are your country’s neighbours?
Politics and Government
When was your country founded?
What type of government does your country have?
Who are some of your country’s leaders?
How many people serve in your country’s military?
Who are your country’s allies? Enemies?
What is your country’s capital?
What is your country’s population?
What is your country’s ethnic composition?
What is your country’s official language?
What other languages are spoken?
What are some of the major cities?
How would you describe the quality of life in your country?
What is your country’s total Gross Domestic Product?
What is your country’s currency?
What are your country’s biggest trading partners?
To find the answers to these questions and more, we recommend you use our Country Profile Map!
Aside from your Country Profile, the other step to get started is to gain a basic understanding of the topic you’ll be discussing. To do this, you should research your Topic Background. Some of the best resources for your topic background will be specific to your topic- websites about your issue in particular, or books about the topic for your committee! To properly research your topic background, make sure you can fulfil three key steps:
- Clearly define what the topic is.
- Identify the key terms related to the topic, and answer key questions about the topic such as “What causes this issue?”, “Who is impacted by this issue?”, and “Where is this issue most prevalent?”.
- Make sure you’re using credible sources of information to understand your topic- don’t just use Wikipedia, the news, or blogs!
Interested in how to write the Topic Background section in a Position Paper? Check out our article about it!
Past International Action
One of the most important things to understand when discussing any topic in Model UN is what the United Nations and the international community has already done about the topic. You don’t want your solutions to be redundant, and you want to make sure you’re aware what the world already has, and hasn’t done. Past international action can come in the form of UN resolutions, international conventions and treaties, or actions by NGOs and international organizations. Here are some resources to help you find the past international actions related to your topic, or you can check out our article about using UN sources to research your topic!
Plus, our NGO Guide details the work of over 100 NGOs over a broad range of issues, so you can see what Civil Society is doing about your topic already.
Interested in how to write the Past International Action section of your Position Paper? Check out our article about this section!
Once you have a decent understanding of the topic and your country, you take this knowledge together and learn what your “Country Policy” is on your topic. Your Country Policy is what your country thinks should be done, or not done, about the issue, and how this topic impacts your country. This means determining if your country is in favour of solutions that have been proposed or resolutions that have been passed, or if your country has been advocating at the UN for policies.
A good starting place to learn your country policy is to research what your country’s government, foreign ministry, or UN mission have said about the topic on their website. Use our Country Profile and Policy Map to check out these websites for your country! Other resources to use from the UN include the following:
The most important part of researching for a Model UN conference, and often the most forgotten, is to research Possible Solutions to help resolve the issue your committee is discussing. The solutions aren’t what your country wants to do for itself- that would never need to be discussed at the UN. Instead, you should consider what your country wants the United Nations to do about the issue worldwide. Feel free to use your own creativity to think of ideas, and find reasons why they would work that you can use in speeches, and later in your resolutions in committee.
All resolutions should be realistic, and can even build on past solutions the UN has tried- maybe you want to expand a program worldwide that was previously local. Maybe you think that a specific solution needs more support or funding. Feel free to include existing UN action in your solutions, but new and creative ideas are always welcome as well! Aside from the United Nations and the Member States, other good places to look for solutions are in the existing work of NGOs (check out our NGO Guide here), through various Think Tanks worldwide, and in university publications.
STRUCTURE AND PUBLICATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS
- United Nations Main Page
- UN Charter
- UN Treaties
- UN Library
- UN Members
- UN Research Guide
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Issues on the UN Agenda
- WWW Virtual Library: the United Nations
- General Assembly
- First Committee: Disarmament and International Security
- Security Council
- Security Council Resolutions
UN SPECIALIZED AGENCIES, PROGRAMS, AND FUNDS
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs
- International Telecommunication Unit
- UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- UN Information Center
COUNTRY PROFILE LINKS
General Research on Countries
- Check out our New Country Policy Profile and Policy Map
- CIA World Factbook
- US State Department Background Notes
- List of Governmental Websites
- List of International Governmental Organizations
- Foreign Governments Comprehensive Web Site Listings
- Library of Congress Country Studies
- The Lincoln Library
- The Electronic Embassy
- Country Watch
- The Economist Country Briefings
- Government and Legal Structure by Country
- UN Maps
- BBC Country Profiles
- Group of 20
- World Bank Data and Statistics
- NGO Global Network
LINKS BY TOPIC CATEGORY
Peace and Security
- UN Peace & Security Page
- UN Disarmament Page
- Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
- UN Institute for Disarmament Research
- Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
- International Atomic Energy Agency
- Nuclear Threat Initiative
- UN Peacekeeping
- UNODC and Terrorism Prevention
- UN Terrorism Page
- Global Security
- Carnegie Endowment
- Crisis Group
- United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs
- United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research
- US National Counterintelligence Executive
- US National Security Agency
- International Relations and Security Network
- UN Mine Action Service
- International Campaign to Ban Landmines
- WWW Virtual Library: Peace and Security
Development: Humanitarian and Health
- UN News
- Google Scholar
- Google News
- Google News Alerts
- Financial Times
- International Herald Tribune
- Le Monde Diplomatique
- New York Times
- The Economist
- The Times of London
- The Wall Street Journal
- Washington Post
- WWW Virtual Library: News Sources
- WWW Virtual Library: International Radio and Television
- WWW Virtual Library: International Relations Journals and Magazines
THINK TANKS & POLICY GROUPS
- WWW Virtual Library: Research Institutes
- 9/11 Commission
- American Progress
- Asia Society
- Aspen Institute
- Carnegie Endowment
- CATO Institute
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Chatham House
- Council of the Americas
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Crisis Group
- Council on Foreign Affairs
- European Council on Foreign Relations
- Federation of American Scientists
- For the Record
- Foreign Affairs
- Foreign Policy Association
- Foreign Policy in Focus
- Gallup WorldView
- Global News Bank
- Heritage Foundation
- Institute for Global Communications
- Institute for Policy Studies
- International Institute for Strategic Studies
- One World
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
- Transparency International