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Topic: Human Rights Issues: Home

Strategies and resources for researching human rights and civil liberties topics.

Human Rights & the U.N.

- artwork highlighting Article 19 from The Universal Declaration of Human Rights / photo by Celita Avila, June 2009, at the United Nations in NYC

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Hey! This LibGuide will help you through the process of research for your project. Feel free to contact me if you need help at any time.

research model

1. Define Topic: What do you know? Verify with Background Info.

2. Devise Strategy: What do you want to find out? List keywords.

3. Search Sources: Look at Books, Articles, web sites, etc.


EVALUATE what you're doing: Change your keywords/database; Are you finding appropriate items?

Assignment from Mr. McCarthy:

Preparation for Essay #1: begin the process of researching one of the following human rights issues:
  • Hate crimes such as gay bashing, racially motivated crimes, or religious persecution
  • Censorship
  • First Amendment issues
  • Torture
  • Privacy issues
  • Racial or Gender prejudice
  • Death Penalty in the U.S.
  • Privacy issues and the Patriot Act
  • Criminal Justice issues
  • Press censorship
  • Sex slavery
  • Exploitation of human labor
There are many other issues. Your job is to begin gathering research. You will be assisted by a library visit that will provide you an orientation to some specific databases available to SAC students as well as an overview of how to use the Internet to gather responsible information. Your research will consist entirely of web-based information. It will be part of your job to find sources that are reliable. I suggest the following:
Each of these sites is dedicated either to the preservation of basic civil liberties of this country, specifically the protection of the Bill of Rights, or is a human rights website that monitors human rights violations worldwide. Once you have accessed the site, you are to browse the various links and select an issue. Do not restrict yourself to only those human rights that are being violated in other countries, but of course you many consider those such as genocide in Darfur.


Once you have found an issue that you wish to research, browse all sites and follow any appropriate links until you have found four sources on the same issue. You may print a reasonable number of pages from this process, but no more than 25. You now have the basis of your research. If you have accomplished this much and still have some class time, you may then begin to summarize the various articles you have printed using a word processing program.


Once you have assembled your research, you are to begin drafting an essay in which you do the following:
  1. Write an introduction in which you summarize the history of the issue. This may take several paragraphs.
  2. Write at least three paragraphs concerning the reason this issue is important to every American citizen. Cite specific facts from your research. Make sure that each paragraph presents a separate idea and specific evidence to support that idea.
  3. Write a strong conclusion in which you present your view of how the issue should best be resolved. You will need to provide a realistic suggestion that is supported by facts and reason.
  4. Retain all pertinent information on your sources (sponsoring organization, title of article, author, web address - this information will be available to you as citations if you use the SAC databases.) Eventually this semester, you will construct a documentation page.

Subject Guide

Celita Ávila's picture
Celita Ávila
San Antonio College Library
1819 N. Main Ave
San Antonio, TX 78212

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