11/05/2015 07:09:00 pm

MUN 101: Researching

By now you have received your council and country allocation. The study guides have been emailed to you or have been uploaded on the conference website. Now what?

First, read your study guide. Print it out if you want, or just read it on your computer screen if it has many many pages. Highlight it, virtually or with a real highlighter. The study guide contains some background information of the topic you will be discussing, so it's important you understand what it's saying, and the terms they use. If not, check it up, google it, ask your friends or teachers.

Now that you have a rough idea of the topic, you can turn on the wifi and start researching. Wait.

Do you know your country? It might be somewhere you know, like Australia, or somewhere you didn't know until today, like Uzbekistan. One reliable source is CIA World Factbook.

Stuff like the economy, population, major imports and exports, GDP are important when learning about your country's stance. The information is categorized into general groups: Geography, Government, Economy, Military, People and Society, Transnational Issues, Energy, Transportation and Communications. 

Note down the important stats either in Word document or paper (it's a lot to copy down though).

Afterwards, you can start looking for your country's stance. For example, if my country was Spain in the UNDP, and the topic is Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, my keywords in googling would be

There might be some news articles, sometimes the view may be biased, so you have use your judgement and think 'is this really what my country (Spain) feels about this issue?' 

Look for past actions, like past resolutions and solutions:
 Or since you're in UNDP (United Nations Development Program, a sector of the UN), you can try:
Copy and paste the relevant news articles and information onto a word page. This I usually label '(conference name) (country) notes.' It'll be good to add the links where you got them from, in case you need to refer to them later on.

Reread the study guide if needed.

Avoid: Fox News, CNN, Xinhua

The Associated Press, 
Al-Jazeera (Middle East)
Wikipedia is good only for a brief overview, but read the links that they cite for more reliable information

Think tanks:
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 
RAND Corporation, 

Council on Foreign Relations.

Usually researching takes about a couple of hours to a full day, depending on the person's focus and the amount of information available on the web. When you feel you have a grasp of your country's stance on that issue, you can take a snack break and come back to brainstorm on the solutions.

To recap:
~Read study guide
~Research on your country background
~Research on country stance on issue
~Research on past solutions
~Copy all relevant information into a Word document

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