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Human Rights Research - The Basics

Sources and techniques for getting started with human rights research - especially for the International Human Rights Clinic and other students and faculty at the Univ. of San Francisco School of Law.

Why Books?

Books often contain in-depth information and analysis unavailable elsewhere. Look for books on broad topics that might contain discussions of your specific human rights issue.

(For introductory works on international human rights law, see the "Useful Books" section on the first page of this guide.)

Finding Scholarly Books at USF

To find scholarly, book-length topical discussions on human rights at USF, use the Ignacio.

Ignacio searches broad descriptions of books. For good results try keyword searches following this model:

"topic words" "human rights"

For example:

voting "human rights"
"capital punishment" "human rights"
detention immigra* "human rights

These are some pre-formatted, ready-to-run Ignacio searches:

To further refine your search, select "Law Stacks" from the "Location" options on the left-hand side of the screen.

Look at the "Tags" in your search results for new terms to use in subsequent searches.

To find books or reports by major NGOs, use include the name of the NGO (e.g., Human Rights Watch) in your search. along with other key words describing the topic. For example:

"human rights watch" displac*

Finding Scholarly Books Worldwide with WorldCat

To find scholarly books worldwide, try WorldCat.

WorldCat searches broad descriptions of books. For good results, try keyword searches following this model:

"topic words" "human rights"

For example:

"topic words" "human rights

For example:

voting "human rights"
"capital punishment" "human rights"
women violen* "human rights

Finding Books Worldwide with Google Books

Find books by searching the full text of books using Google Books.

Because Google Books searches the full text, you can often get good results with more narrow, specific searches than would be useful in Ignacio or WorldCat — searches such as:

environment toxic waste "human rights"
water privatization "human rights"

International Human Rights Law Institute Publications

Interlibrary Borrowing

If the USF libraries don't have a book or an article you need, we can arrange to borrow books or get copies of articles for you from another library.

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