On the second day of committee, you step in prepared for a shift in the discussion on the next Summer Olympics. However, as you take a few minutes to think of how to respond to a delegate’s controversial, thought-provoking point on corporate sponsorships, seasoned delegates in your committee don’t skip a beat. Committee keeps steaming forward, but you’re left behind at the station.
What just happened? Were those delegates just quick-thinkers? Well, that was part of it. However, they most likely saw that shift from a couple weeks ago. In their preparation for committee, they anticipated controversial points and found solutions or opinions on those issues.
Luckily for you, there’s an easy way to incorporate this strategy into your research through subdivision. Here’s how. As always, give the background guide an initial read-through first. The biggest problem in researching for MUN in general is figuring out where to start and what exactly you should delving into. In order to combat this, I recommend making a research guide. Read through the background guide again and identify points of research. These could be documents/treaties, people, wars, events, questions to answer in a resolution – basically anything you either don’t know or will need to learn more about. Now, before you begin looking these things up, think specifically about the decisions that will need to be made in committee solely with your prior knowledge and the background guide. Despite your expectation that everyone will be well researched, chances are, the majority of knowledge that everyone shares in common will be the background guide. Thus, much of the debate in committee will be based on just that knowledge. This doesn’t mean that you can pass by just reading the background guide, but it’s a good idea to think about your topics prior to doing any other research and take down notes on any crisis you think may take place. Ask yourself questions about scenarios hinted at in the background guide. What if there’s a foreign invasion? What if my committee goes bankrupt? What if my committee diverges from the historical timeline? At worst, even if something completely different happens, at least this exercise may help you brainstorm and get warmed up.
Now you have your research guide ready with questions and topics to research from the background. Your next step is to research and find solutions or answers, but in order to make them more robust and foresee future complications, ask further questions about each of your solutions. Nuclear Weapon Free Zones (NWFZ’s) as a solution to Nuclear Weapons Proliferation? Where would they start? How would they be implemented? Why would belligerent nations agree? What are the punishments for violating a NWFZ? What would be done with fissile material? Those questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) all have their own separate answers which you can then ask yourself further questions about. Whether you use this strategy in preparation for a crisis, or for a traditional committee, it allows you to elevate your preparation from a theoretical to an applicable level.
The key to this strategy is that you ask yourself the hardest questions you possibly can so that you know beforehand how to respond to them. With a little practice, you’ll not only be prepared to flow with committee, but direct it as well. Remember, the more questions you ask, the more answers you’ll find for yourself.