How do I start research on United Nations topics?
Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Research into UN documentation can be overwhelming. From our experience, here are some hints to keep in mind.
Check secondary sources to see if someone has already done the same or similar research.
- Secondary sources such as books, articles and chapters may discuss UN topics. Check your library's resources to see if other scholars have already looked into the topic: scholarly sources will often cite primary UN information sources. With a citation to a resolution or document, the next steps may be easier.
Work back in time: start with the most recent document and then look for older documents.
- UN documents will usually cite important documents that came before. Use the citations to locate additional documents and work back in time.
Start with a resolution and work back in time.
- Resolutions usually cite preceding resolutions, as well as other documents that were considered by the body during its deliberations on the topic.
Use UN reference books and websites such as:
- UN Documentation Research Guide
- UN Yearbook
- Indexes to the Proceedings
- Repertory of Practice of UN Organs
- Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council
Visit a UN Depository Library.
- Depository libraries hold UN documents and publications and have staff who can help with research inquiries.
Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.