Topic Research

Most committees in BMUN have two topics. It's important that you gain an understanding of the topics themselves before you begin to understand your country's specific position on the topic.

 
 

General topic research

Before you do anything else, you should read the topic synopsis thoroughly. We suggest highlighting or otherwise demarcating the key phrases and ideas within the topic. You should note that which you think is most important, but do not cite the topic synopsis. Think of the topic synopsis as a Wikipedia page: you should use it to get a general idea, but should look to the references to cite sources and build your argument.

You should be able to answer the following questions on each topic before you begin to research your country's position specifically. Having a broad idea of your topic will allow you to understand who to connect with in committee, which elements of the issue you already have a strong background on, and where you personally stand on the issue, which will allow you to acknowledge your possible biases in developing a position that is true to your country's position. You should know:

  • Who are the major actors on this issue?
    • This includes countries who have significant policy on the topic, NGO's whose focus is the topic, and IGO's that focus on the topic, especially those outside of your specific UN body. This list will give you an idea of which countries to work with in your committee and what external bodies you can leverage in your resolutions.
  • What resources are needed to alleviate this issue?
    • One of the essential parts of a good solution and a good understanding of a problem is to think about the needs that the issue creates. What is truly needed at the base of this issue? Is it food? Water? Clean air? Money? Being able to answer this simple question will help you in developing a deployment strategy for your solution.
  • What are current events surrounding this issue?
    • If you're not in a historical committee or a highly specific topic, you will be able to find many recent events and scholarly articles about the issue. These will help you understand why the issue is important right now and inform you of the most recent developments in the issue.

Past International Action

The next step in understanding your topic is understanding what has already been done on the issue. Again, the topic synopsis' "Past International Action" section will be a great resource for you in uncovering this information, but do not cite the topic synopsis directly.

Understanding past action is essential to not creating redundant resolutions or proposing something that has already failed. The two buttons in the top right of this section will bring you to two valuable databases: the UN Document System and the Interpol Resolution Database. These two are great jumping off points for learning what the UN and Interpol have done and can give you hints at your country's position based on their vote on a given resolution.


Potential solutions

Potential Solutions research is guided by a combination of policy and creativity. In the end, you must make sure that you have solutions that are on policy, realistic, and well researched. It might be useful to follow the S.M.A.R.T. framework when laying out your solutions so that they are more easily translated into effective operatives at conference. This will allow you to have something unique to contribute in committee which is feasible and appropriate for your bloc.

Depending on the scope of your topic, using case studies or past action on the topic can help you start to understand how to tackle the issue, especially if it is a historical committee or a persistent issue. This requires analyzing the efficacy of past solutions by looking at the following events and historical opinions. If the reuse of these solutions is not redundant, unfeasible, off policy, or inappropriate in some way then you can even incorporate these ideas in your potential solutions.

Solutions without historical precedent should be thoroughly researched and are often more distinct and novel than those with. For example, if you have a environmental committee attempting to reduce carbon emissions, there is a wide range of new research coming out about fuel efficient cars, solar energy, and nations that have successfully reduced carbon emissions. Finding these solutions involves looking at articles published with research from experts in the field along with political support and prospective application. Just be sure that your solutions are not overly technical so that you chairs and fellow delegates can openly discuss them.