Human Rights in a Diverse World

Walking down the main street of Zaatari refugee camp, by DFID - UK Department for International Development via Wikimedia Commons

This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research for Human Rights in a Diverse World.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

If you need assistance organizing, analyzing, or visualizing data sets, please visit the Empirical Research Center (ERC).

Ayten Gündoğdu

Personal Librarian 
Jennie Correia
Social Sciences Librarian
103 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall

Journal Articles/Databases
Data & Stats

Government Information & Nongovernmental Organizations
Writing & Citing

Other Research Guides

Finding Books - Catalogs

CLIO is the online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and some information from the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials.

Catalog search tips:

If you know exactly what book (journal, video, etc.) you are looking for, you can search by Title, Author, ISBN, etc.

To find items about a specific topic, first try a keyword search in All Fields.

  • Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase: "human rights".

  • Use * for truncation (to find variant spellings and endings of a word): wom*n will find woman, women, womyn; feminis* will find feminism, feminist, feminists, etc.

  • For more complex search, use AND and OR:

    • AND finds records which have all the search terms you entered.

    • OR finds records which have one of the search terms you entered, as well as records which have more than one of the terms. OR finds MORE.

    • For more help with using AND and OR, check our guide to advanced/Boolean keyword searching.

  • Use parentheses to group terms:  Afghanistan AND (refugee* OR asylum)

Subject headings: If you find a book that's relevant, look at its subject headings in CLIO and click through to find more related works.

Find books and other materials in other libraries:

Finding Journal Articles/Databases

There are hundreds of databases available through CLIO. You can use the Articles section in CLIO to search multiple databases simultaneously, including many listed below.

For off-campus access to library online resources, remember to follow the links from CLIO or this research guide. You can also use the proxy bookmarklet.

Database search tips:

  • The general search tips for CLIO also apply to the article databases.
  • If you find an article or a book that is relevant, the bibliography/works cited page can be a useful road map to other relevant literature that was previously published.  
  • If you find an article or a book that is relevant, you can use Google Scholar and some other databases to find out whether it was cited by other scholars after it was published. Search for the title of an article/monograph and search and click on "Cited by" to generate a list of publications that have referenced that source.
  • In most databases, you can narrow your results to scholarly publications only. Look for "limit to ... scholarly publications/peer-reviewed/refereed publications only" or similar language. This will help you find articles from journals that have gone through a rigorous peer review process.  

Recommended Scholarly Databases:

  • CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online) provides working papers, research reports, policy briefs and more from university research institutes, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and foundations. This is a good place to look for analysis of recent events and current situations.
  • Contemporary Women's Issues provides full text access to information about women in over 190 countries, including journal and magazine articles, research reports, and fact sheets.
  • International Political Science Abstracts (IPSA) provides citations and abstracts for political science journal articles and yearbooks, including literature in the field of international affairs.
  • PAIS Index features public affairs research, including references to journal articles, books, government documents, statistical sources, research reports, conference proceedings, and publications of international agencies.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts contains abstracts of books, scholarly journal articles, and major news magazine articles covering North American and international politics.
  • The Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Research Guide from Columbia University Libraries has a good list of recommended scholarly journals in human rights that you can browse or search.

Finding Data and Statistical Sources

Finding Government Information and Nongovernmental Organization Publications

  • Refworld from UNHCR contains a vast collection of reports relating to situations in countries of origin, policy papers, case law and other documents relating to international and national legal frameworks. The documents have been selected from - and with - UNHCR field offices, governments, international organizations, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and judicial bodies.
  • Several NGOs produce research reports and country profiles that might be helpful:
  • If your research requires references to U.S. policy .... 
    • Digital National Security Archive includes more than 80,000 of the most important declassified documents regarding critical U.S. policy decisions.

    • HeinOnline provides a wide variety of official U.S. and foreign government publications, including constitutions, treaties, and international agreements.

    • ProQuest Congressional tracks information and publications produced by the United States Congress from 1789 to the present, including legislative histories and testimony from congressional hearings.

    • U.S. Declassified Documents Online (USDDO) provides access to previously classified U.S. government documents, particularly from the executive branch. The majority of the documents are presidential records. You can also find records from the Department of State, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other executive agencies. Materials include intelligence studies, policy papers, diplomatic correspondence, cabinet meeting minutes, briefing materials, and domestic surveillance and military reports. NOTE: This resource was previously called Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS).

Writing and Citing

  • Barnard guides to citation management provides information about citation practices, style guides, and software programs you can use that help you keep track of your sources and create bibliographies.
  • Cite Source presents information about how to cite various sources in a visual way, and they offer guidance on citing tricky source like government agency reports, House and Senate committee debates and hearings, and other. Check out the source help for APAAPSA, Chicago, and MLA styles.​
  • The Craft of Research is an online book that can help guide you through the full research process.

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has lots of general and subject-specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.

Other Research Guides

  • Human Rights Research Guide from Columbia Law Library links to sources for basic information on the human rights situation within countries. It also provides instructions on how to research foreign law, treaties, and how to find books on human rights issues. Note: Should you require assistance using research materials from the Law Library, feel free to contact me with your question and I’ll route your question to the appropriate librarian at the Law Library.
  • Population, Migration and Refugee Studies Research Guide from Columbia University Libraries provides links to background information, a selected list of books (most in Lehman Library, located in the School of International Affairs building) and sources for journal articles, as well as sources of analysis and statistical data available on the Web.
  • Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Research Guide from Columbia University Libraries has links to background information, selected books and journals (many also located within Lehman Library), and provides an extensive and annotated list of links to human rights advocacy organizations.

Last updated September 9, 2016