Researching World Affairs: A Resource GuidePosted: August 3, 2011
Need some help researching international topics? Then check out some of the resources we have compiled below to help you find the information you are looking for!
These are online resources that tend to have considerable and reputable international news and analysis. Certainly this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully you will find that these sites are excellent starting points for exploring many international topics!
- The New York Times – One of the U.S.’s preeminent newspapers, the NYT tends to have robust coverage of international stories. The International Herald Tribune is the Times’ Global Edition. (The NYT has a pay wall. Non-subscribers can view 20 articles per month for free before being asked to purchase a digital subscription.)
- The Wall Street Journal – Financially-focused, the WSJ is a good resource for international business and economics-related information. (The WSJ also operates behind a pay wall. Much of its content is available only to subscribers.)
- The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post are also among the U.S.’s most widely circulated newspapers. Both feature international reporting. One important benefit is that neither currently has a pay wall.
- Newsweek and Time Magazine also feature many international news stories, and all of their online content is free.
In researching international affairs, it is important to be aware of the many different perspectives that exist. While American publications are very informative, they may have a U.S.-centric point of view, which is why you may want to explore some foreign publications. Because they are written in English, British periodicals are often useful. Some key ones are:
- The Economist – Despite its name, The Economist is not focused just on economic issues but rather a broad range of international news. The magazine tends to analyze and editorialize on the topics it reports on. (The Economist, too, has a pay wall. Anyone can access 5 articles per week, and with a free account, you can access 10 articles per week. Beyond that, you must pay for a subscription.)
- BBC News Online – The BBC reports on a wide range of news from all over the world, often accompanied by multimedia features from its television and radio operations. (And it’s free!)
- The Financial Times can perhaps be classified as the English counterpart to the Wall Street Journal. (You must register for an account to view the site, but registration is free.)
- The Guardian is another prominent English newspaper whose online content is available to everyone.
However, even if English is the only language you know, that does not mean you are limited to the perspectives of periodicals in English-speaking countries. Many periodicals from non-English-speaking countries have English-language versions. This site provides links to many of these.
Various websites (for example, Newslink.org) maintain databases of international newspapers so that you can search for and locate news sources from any country and in any language.
Publications and organizations with an international focus
- Foreign Policy – A bimonthly magazine whose articles you can access by registering for a free account.
- Foreign Affairs– A journal published by the Council on Foreign Relations. It does require a subscription to view.
- The Brookings Institution – A nonprofit public policy organization whose fellows conduct independent research. Articles on a wide variety of topics are available online.
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Another nonprofit organization that advances cooperation between countries and promotes that the US actively engage the world. It provides various resources, such as articles written by its experts.
- Council on Foreign Relations – This is also a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that aims to promote understanding of foreign policy, and provides many resources on international topics.
U.S. governmental agencies
- CIA World Factbook– For a detailed profile of each country, this resource is a good reference.
- Background Notes from the U.S. Department of State – These pages also offer detailed profiles of each country, including a section on U.S. relations with that country. In addition to the Background Notes publication, the Department of State’s website provides many other international resources.
- Some additional sites include: Department of Defense, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Institute for Peace.
- To browse a full list of federal agencies, click here.
Intergovernmental and Nongovernmental Organizations (IGOs and NGOs)
IGOs are those organizations that governments participate in. Some prominent ones that you may find useful are: the United Nations, European Union, International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Bank, World Trade Organization, North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
NGOs, on the other hand, operate independently of governments. Some examples of NGOs with an international focus are Amnesty International and Green Peace.
There are quite a lot of these, so it is very likely that there is one that can provide helpful information on whatever topic you are interested in researching. If you don’t already know of a relevant organization or are having trouble finding one, perhaps try browsing these lists for ideas:
World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
And of course, don’t forget about all of the resources the Council has to offer! Check out our website and in particular our own resources page for Lesson Plans, Policy Scenarios, Background Papers and Resource Guides.
Which of these resources did you find most helpful? Are there any we missed that you think should be on this list? Let us know by leaving a comment!