Skip to Main Content

Extended Essay Resources: Human Rights

Find loads of resources and links for the EE


Welcome to the Human Rights research guide. The Home page includes a brief overview of the topic, research tips and citation help. The Research page contains links with brief descriptions to relevant sources of information, including print and electronic media. Additional research help is always available by contacting the library. 


Brief Description

Human rights are the fundamental rights that every person is born with. They are not earned and cannot be taken away. They protect people from severe political, legal, and social abuses. Examples of human rights are the right to freedom of religion, the right to a fair trial when charged with a crime, the right not to be tortured, and the right to engage in political activity. These rights exist in morality and in law at the national and international levels (Nickel, 2014).

The first declaration of human rights in history is the Cyrus Cylinder. It was created by Cyrus the Great in 539 BC declaring the freedom of slaves and the right choose one’s own religion (YHRI, n.d.). Following this, a variety of human rights documents have been created, including these globally influential versions:

·         The Magna Carta (1215),

·         The Petition of Right (1628),

·         The United States Declaration of Independence (1776),

·         The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and

·         The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created as a result of human rights violations during the Second World War, including the Nazi genocide of Jews, Roma, and other groups, and has influenced the nearly universal acceptance of the notion of human rights (Andreopoulos, G.).  

In Canada, The Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedomsgrants each individual the right to equality under the law and the right to protection from discrimination. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the basis for which documented Canadian human rights were formed.


Andreopoulos, G. (n.d.). Universal declaration of human rights (UDHR). In Encyclopaedia Britannica.Retrieved from

Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) (n.d.). How are human rights protected in Canada?.Retrieved from

Nickel, J. (2014). Human rights. In The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved from

Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) (n.d.). What are human rights?: Human rights defined. Retrieved from

Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) (n.d.). Background of human rights. Retrieved from

The Search Process

You may become overwhelmed as beginning researchers. It may help to have a general understanding of the information search process (ISP), in order to encourage a positive experience with your extended essay. 

The ISP consists of seven stages:

  • Initiation - starting your research project, looking over the assignment and thinking about what topic you'd like to explore.
  • Selection - reading the background information on your potential topics and starting to think about possible questions that could be used to help narrow your topic. 
  • Exploration - exploring many different areas/issues that are related to your chosen topic by reading more authoritative sources as well as current events. 
  • Formulation - using the knowledge obtained from the exploration stage, choose a specific question to explore as the main idea of your extended essay and develop your thesis statement. 
  • Collection - seek out scholarly, authoritative information on your specific topic and keep track of your searches using the worksheets provided.
  • Presentation - write your paper, but do not be afraid to repeat some steps if you feel that you need to collect more information or narrow your topic even further. 
  • Assessment - reflect on and learn from your experience in completing an extended essay from start to finish.  

Each of these stages plays an important role in your research and may be repeated at different points, depending on how your research is going. 

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012). The research behind the design. In Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school (pp. 17-36). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Research Tips

Using specific search terms will aid you in finding the most appropriate resources for your research. Additionally, different search results will be found depending on how the search terms are constructed. 

Besides using human rights as a search term, the following is a list of some related search terms that may help in refining your results:

  • Child labour,
  • Children's rights,
  • Civil rights,
  • Human rights -- [country name],
  • Right to health,
  • Social responsibility of business, and
  • Women's rights.

Citing Your Sources

You must acknowledge your sources of information by properly citing them in MLA format. Below is a list of sources that you can refer to when making your reference list. Please contact the library should you require further assistance.