Begin researching by looking up your country in an encyclopedia. Pay particular attention to the entries on the political system, trading partners, and international relations. Also, look for an encyclopedia entry on your agenda item. This may take longer to find. For example, the issue “Chemical and Biological Weapons” may be a subsection of “Arms Control.” Use an atlas to make a list of your country’s neighbors. This list will help you during you research and the simulation.
There are a few ways to start searching. A great way is to take advantage of MCCMUN’s website (http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/~bdille/un), or Model UN of the Far West’s website (http://www.munfw.org). Both of these sites provide great research links to get you started. One of the best places to start is the Christian Science Monitor. Locate the “archive,” or “search” link on the homepage and look for specific articles using keywords. For example “your country and population.” An extremely useful keyword is “your country and foreign minister.” Once you have the minister’s name you can run a keyword search using only his/her name.
Another valuable source of information is a country’s website, if it has one. To find out, go to http://www.embassy.org and there will be a “Washington D.C. embassies” link that will take you to an index of all the countries that have embassies in Washington D.C. It is always useful to get the address and phone number of your embassy so you can write to them for information concerning your agenda topic. Browse around your country’s homepage to find a lot of useful information.
The UN homepage is at http://www.un.org.You will find the most valuable information here, but you may also find it is the most frustrating place to research. The best place to start is with the “UN news” link and the “press briefings” link. Once at the press briefings page you can run a keyword search. Once you’ve found press releases use your “find tool” (in the edit submenu) to locate the place in the document where your country appears. Keep trying different keywords until you find the one that works best. Also try the “search” link on the homepage. The best way to find information on the UN homepage is to just keep looking, click on every single link you can find here -- you never know what you will find!!!
· Start broad and general -- work your way into specific issues and positions.
· Use a search engine with boolean capability (boolean allows you to narrow your search).
· Take advantage of the “in document find” tool, it will help you find what you’re looking for.
· Don’t forget about your country’s embassy, it will have lots of official policy information, plus great general information on your country.
· BE CAREFUL! Make sure that what you use is official policy -- statements given by prime ministers, presidents, and ministers of foreign policy are official --newspapers and magazines are not!
· Don’t rely solely on the internet. UN documents are available in Hayden Library at ASU (3rd floor, it is open to the public and the librarians are extremely helpful).
Good places to Start
http://www.un.org United Nations Homepage
http://gopher.un.org/ Text of UN resolutions and working papers
http://www.odci.gov/cia CIA - World Factbook
http://www.unsystem.org/ UN system WEB site locator
http://www.g77.org/ Portal to issues common to the developing world
http://www.g24.org/ Portal to issues common to the developed world
http://www.washlaw.edu/forint/intundoc.html UN agency Listing
http://www.embassy.org/ Embassy Listing
http://www.metagrid.com Newspapers around the world & country
http://www.southamerica-business.com/newspapers/ Another newspaper directory
http://www.csmonitor.com Christian Science Monitor
http://www.usatoday.com USA Today
http://www.nytimes.com New York Times
http://www.washingtonpost.com Washington Post
http://www.worldpress.org/ World Press Review