Building Peace

 UN and Banner of Peace stamp (1986) via Wikimedia Commons.

This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research for Building Peace.

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).

Severine Autesserre

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

Journal Articles/Databases 
Government & Legal Info 
Data, Stats & Country Reports
International Organizations 
Writing & Citing

Finding Books - Catalogs

CLIO is the online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library. 

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:  Congo AND (peacebuilding OR peacemaking OR peacekeeping)

  • Find primary sources by adding keywords to your search:


  • For more information on locating primary sources, check out the Barnard research guide, Finding Primary Sources in History.

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. Here are some potentially useful examples.

Find books and other materials in other libraries:

Finding Journal Articles/Databases

There are hundreds of databases available through CLIO. You can use Find Articles (Summon) 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:

  • Africa-Wide Information contains citations and abstracts on research covering all African nations, including journal articles, research reports, conference proceedings, books, theses and dissertations. 

  • 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 analyis 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.

  • EconLit with Full Text provides comprehensive access to economic research, including journal articles, books, dissertations, and working papers. 

  • GenderWatch provides abstracts and the full text of journal articles covering the topics of feminism, women’s studies, gender studies, and LGBTQ studies.  

  • International Political Science Abstracts (IPSA) provides citations and abstracts for political science journal articles and yearbooks, including international affairs.

  • PAIS Archive and PAIS International features public affairs research, including references to journal articles, books, government documents, statistical sources, research reports, conference proceedings, and publications of international agencies. 

  • Peace Research Abstracts has references to academic journal and magazine articles covering conflict resolution, nonviolence, war, and international affairs. 

  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts contains abstracts of books, scholarly journal articles, and major news magazine articles covering North American and international politics.

Related Scholarly Journals:

Finding News

  •  posts over 700 stories daily in English and French and has a searchable archive. It also offers multi-lingual streaming content.

  • Alt-Press Watch provides full text access to articles from over 210 alternative and press publications, including newspapers, magazines and journals. There are some peace-related and international affairs publications, including Amnesty International, Peace and Freedom, and Peacework.

  • Foreign Affairs is a magazine published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports provides full text translations of newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts, non-classified technical reports, conference proceedings, and local media sources from around the world. This database covers 1941-1996; coverage from 1996 to the present is available in World News Connection, described below.

  • Foreign Policy is a magazine providing analysis and original reporting in its coverage of global affairs. 

  • LexisNexis Academic contains access to hundreds of information sources including the full text of newspapers, magazines, wire services, newsletters, journals, and broadcast transcripts from around the world.

  • World News Connection is the continuation of FBIS Daily Reports, above. It provides full text translations of newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts, non-classified technical reports, conference proceedings, and local media sources from around the world. Covers 1996-present. This database covers 1996 to the present; coverage from 1941 to 1996 is available in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, described above.

  • World Politics Review is a daily online publication for foreign policy professionals and readers with an interest in international politics and foreign affairs.

Finding Government & Legal Information

  • Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs are reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. The CRS is a division of the Library of Congress. These can provide good summaries of policy development and legislative history. 

  • Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS) contains the full text of selected previously classified U.S. government documents, from the mid-1940s though the 1970s.

  • Digital National Security Archive also contains the full text of selected previously classified U.S. government documents, from the mid-1940s to the early 2010s. 

  • HeinOnline provides the full text of law journals and a wide variety of official U.S. and foreign government publications, including 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. 

  • UN Treaty Collection provides the full text of over 200,000 bilateral and multilateral treaties.

  • U. S. State Department Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets are written for each nation that the U.S. has relations with and include information about the current status of diplomatic relations, U.S. assistance to that country, bilateral economic relations, that country's membership in international organizations, and information about embassies and ambassadors.

Finding Data, Statistics, and Information about Countries 

  • Armed Conflict Database offers statistics and detailed information on international and internal conflicts, as well as terrorism. It includes information on refugees and returnees, internally displaced persons, weapons used and their flows, fatalities, costs, historical backgrounds, and timelines. 

  • CountryWatch provides comprehensive and up-to-date political, economic, cultural, business, and environmental information. Country Wire provides daily country-specific news. 

  • EUI (Economist Intelligence Unit) includes full text access to the Economist magazine, as well as various economic data, statistics, news, and analysis provided in country reports. 

  • FAOSTAT provides global food and agricultural statistics for 200 countries.

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) Data and Statistics includes a range of data on IMF lending over time, historical exchange rates, and other economic and financial information.

  • Janes provides news and analysis on global security and defense issues. The country studies have facts and data for UN-recognized countries. 

  • OECD iLibrary is a portal for the online publications of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). You can generate data and statistical reports for OECD member countries on a wide range of topics including agriculture, development, economics, education, energy, environment, governance, health migration, science & technology, transportation, and more.

  • UNdata includes current and historical statistical data for countries from around the world covering a wide range of economic and socio-demographic topics.

  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Foreign Aid Explorer is a companion to the annual report to Congress, U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants, Obligations and Loan Authorizations—commonly known as the "Greenbook". The Greenbook summarizes current and historical United States government foreign economic and military assistance data for each country. 

  • World Bank DataBank provides access to many World Bank data sets, including World Development Indicators (WDI). WDI contains cross-country comparable statistics about debt, development, economics, education, gender equity, health, and more.

Selected List of International Organizations

Note: You may also wish you use the human rights search engine HURISearch to explore local and/or grassroots organizations doing peacebuilding work.

Writing and Citing

  • Barnard guides to citation management has information about helpful software programs like Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley.

  • 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 APA, APSAChicago, 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) provides writing tips and techniques, research advice, and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.



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Last updated February 19, 2016