Research for Model UN
WHERE TO BEGIN
Since the end goal of the committee is to write and pass a draft resolution that is thorough in addressing the issue, your preparation should focus on anything that you can use to help you personally contribute to that end goal of a draft resolution. Many delegates will make the mistake of researching facts about their country, such as GDP or domestic programs. While this information is interesting, it does not ultimately end up in the committee’s draft resolutions. The things that do are specific and well-researched ideas for solutions.
The best research starts out with carefully reading the background guide and identifying the questions that the committee should aim to answer. After identifying these questions, start by finding solutions to the questions. The more specific you can get in identifying the question, the more thorough the solution will probably be. For example, it’s very difficult to find one definitive answer to how the world should solve gender income inequality, but it’s easier to find a specific solution to how to engage women in traditionally male dominated fields or how to change company hiring practices. Try to break down the topic into several sub-categories that you can address and compile a list of initiatives the United Nations can take on to combat each of them.
Preparing for Conference
What to Bring to Committee
You should not bring any pre-written material. The only thing you should bring to conference is any research you have conducted beforehand. This may include a printed-out version of the background guide, important past actions, and any relevant news articles that may contain updates that have occurred since the background guide was written.
How to Research for Speeches
A common mistake made by delegates, especially in traditional style committees, is that they spend too much time in their speech prefacing the issue rather than talking about solutions. There is no need to summarize the entire background guide in your speeches; the chair already knows what the issue at hand is because they wrote the background guide and everyone in the committee (hopefully) read the background guide as well. Therefore, it is a waste of speech time to summarize the topic or bring up specific statistics or even facts that are particular to your assigned country. In fact, the more specific delegates get about the content that they are producing in the unmoderated caucuses rather than summarizing the research they did before conference, the better.
The goal of speeches should be to convey your country’s thoughts on a given topic and any potential solutions that they might be amenable to supporting. You should also aim to convince other delegates of your position on the topic and the solutions you support.
How to Summarize Important Findings
You want to get your point across as efficiently and as clearly as possible. Use emphatic language to grab your audience and connect with them using pathos, logos and ethos. Once you have them, deliver the key takeaways from the research you have conducted. Provide them with just the minimum information they need to know for your point to get across and for them to want to support your ideas. Providing excess information will bore your audience and prevent you from connecting with them in your speeches.
Wikipedia can be a useful tool if wielded correctly. It should only be used as a starting point for research. Use it to provide an overview of a topic and to give yourself a better understanding of the subject of the page. The real important information lies in the citations at the end of sentences that link to the very bottom of the wikipedia page. These are the sources you want to examine for facts, figures, and other in depth information to use in coming up with your solutions.
Other useful sites that can help you summarize key topics are online encyclopedias or other data-compiling organizations. These are often of higher quality than Wikipedia and will also contain citations that you can follow up on to explore a given topic in greater detail.
Public and/or School Library
Go to your local library! Your school library or local branch of the public library will have plenty of books and other sources that can aid you in your research. When in doubt, talk to the librarian to help navigate the bookshelves to find the sections needed for your research.
Once you find a book, it can be helpful to look at its index (which is located in the back of a book). You may not want to read the whole book, or you may only need to read a section; the index contains key words/phrases and their location within a book. This will help you hone in on specific passages in books that will be most useful for your research.
Government and UN Websites
Government websites are also invaluable sources of information. Any website with a .gov suffix is a U.S. government website that contains reputable information. UN.org website also contains key information on past and current UN activities. Their document website can be found here.
Government and UN websites will have information that you can use to find information on past actions undertaken by them. This is a useful way of determining what has already been done and what can be done in the future.
How to Cite Sources
Citing sources is necessary to support any assertion or claims made in your writing. This is especially useful in position papers you write. Any information you find and use from your research in your position papers must be cited and attributed to the original source where it was found. Citations can be made by hand or online in several formats. Here at MUNUC we use Chicago style citation, but it is not mandatory to do the same. This website contains helpful information on how to cite sources.
There are plenty of online sources to cite information you come across in your research. Be sure to include as much of the information that they ask for as possible on those sites, to make your citations more accurate.
How to Determine the Reliability of a Source
A reputable source is one that has factual and reliable information. These are the sources you want to use to conduct your research. Typically, sources from government websites (.gov) and recognizable organization (.org) contain reputable information. Additionally, useful and reliable information can be found from investigative journalistic sources. However, you must be aware of the bias implicit in some of these sources. Use this website to avoid sources that are overly biased.
How to Use Your Background Guide
How to Examine your Guide
The background guide your chair wrote is a resource, but it is not exhaustive. Your research should take you beyond the basics covered in the background guide and delve directly into solutions to the problem. A common misconception that many delegates have is that research is directly related to information about their assigned country. While you should feel free to discover more about the nation you are representing, you should primarily focus on potential solutions for the topics you will be discussing over the course of the weekend.
Once you have read your background guide, look at the citations made by your executives to find the original sources where they conducted their research. Use these sources as a place to kickstart your own research. They may provide greater context and more potential sources of information for you to explore in your research.
How to Navigate a Country’s Policy
It’s important that you are at least somewhat aligned with your real country policy (e.g. USA is very unlikely to align with the DPRK). However, the extent to which you need to adhere to country policy is usually dependent on the chair’s preferences. Most times, they would prefer to see reasonable collaboration in the committee room. If you are ever in doubt, however, it is a good idea to ask the dais to clarify how strictly they would like delegates to adhere to country policy either after a committee session or during an unmoderated caucus.
How to Navigate a Person’s Agenda
Much of the same can be said for a person’s agenda. Use the bio section of your person to inform their agenda and their background. Chair’s would prefer that there is reasonable collaboration within a committee room, but it is also important to not stray too far from the values of your person.
GA-Specific Research Tips
Gather a good amount of background information on your country. You want to be well versed in the specifics of your country that pertain to the topic at hand. It will also be useful to know what specific action your country has previously taken regarding the topic of your committee. Using these pieces of information, try and piece together what future actions your country would be willing to take on that topic.
Crisis-Specific Research Tips
Your committee’s background guide, found on the MUNUC website, will include a biography for the individual you are representing. This bio should give you an idea of your character’s broad ideology, connections, and existing resources. Use the bio and any citations found in it to inform the direction of your research.