English 110 – Harriston – Human Rights

image displaying words related to human rights issues

Human rights issues addressed on the HumanRights.gov website. Click image to access the website.

About this guide

This guide provides resources for students conducting research on human rights topics for English 110 with Professor Harriston. Use the tabs to navigate through the pages of the guide.

Your assignment

A persuasive/argumentative 4-6 page research paper on a human rights issue, using at least three credible sources from library resources or reliable websites.

Paper writing assistance

Need more help?

If you need more help with research, ask a librarian! Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help. Find our contact information on the right side of this page.Contact Us


The words you use to describe a topic may be different from the words used by the library catalog and databases. If you have trouble finding information on your topic, ask a librarian for help choosing the best keywords to use in your search. Or, try some of the search words listed below.

  • capital punishment
  • child soldiers
  • civil rights
  • human rights
  • human trafficking
  • gay rights
  • women’s rights

For more ideas on human rights topics and keywords click:
United Nations Universal Human Rights Instruments

Reference Sources

Reference sources are a great place to start to get topic ideas, narrow a topic you’ve already chosen, get background information, and help you identify more keywords to use when searching for books and articles.

Print Reference Sources

The following books are available in the Luria Library Reference section.

  • Basic Documents on Human Rights – R 323.4 B885b
  • Encyclopedia of Human Rights – R 323.4 F735e

Online Reference Sources

This reference source is available online and will require you to log in with your Pipeline account information from off campus:


Search the library catalog (books+) for books on your topic. Your search results will include articles as well. Limit to books by choosing the appropriate box from the menu to the left of the results.


Search for articles in the following databases. These resources will require you to login with your Pipeline account information when you access them off campus.

  • Academic Search Premier: Provides full text for more than 4,600 periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals) in a wide range of disciplines.
  • CountryWatch: Contains information about countries, including detailed geographical, political, economic, corporate, and environmental briefings. Tip: After selecting a country, choose Human Rights from the Political Overview section on the left side of the screen.

For pro/con information on controversial issues, try searching one of these databases:

  • CQ Researcher: Provides in-depth, unbiased coverage of both sides of controversial issues related to health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy.
  • Opposing Viewpoints: Provides opinions and other information on hundreds of social issues, including viewpoint articles, topic overviews, full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources to determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: The reason the information exists. Is the purpose to sell, to entertain, to inform, to teach, or to persuade? Do the authors and publishers/sponsors make their purposes clear? Is this source designed for general readers or academic readers?
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does it relate to your topic? Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information. Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong or emotional language, or leave out important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Where does the information come from? Can you verify it in other sources? Are there citations or links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
  • Expertise: The source of the information. Who are the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the information? Are they experts, or has the information been reviewed by experts? Is it posted on a personal website or blog?
  • Newness: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Is it up to date? Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as technology or current events), or will older sources work as well?

Recommended Websites