Human Rights as an Introduction to Academic Research


Being asked to conduct academic research comes as a shock for many undergraduates, especially when the research is to be conducted in a second language. This presentation puts forward an engaging and practical method of introducing research theory and practice to undergraduate students participating in an intensive English for academic purposes program at an international university in Thailand. The research is couched in a human rights context, therefore serving the dual purpose of exposing students to the wider world and the human rights issues that many people face globally. Students are required to research a country’s human rights record based on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms. Having researched their country, they then use a process writing approach to produce a 1,200 word term paper, incorporating evidence from academic sources to support their findings and conclusions. Understanding what human rights are, where to find reliable information, and how and when to use evidence in their writing all present a steep learning curve for students; however, they are carefully guided through each stage of the process with handouts, explanations, and exercises before applying those same skills to their term paper. This presentation will be of interest to teachers (EFL or otherwise) interested in developing their students’ understanding of human rights and introducing their students to the practice of academic research.

Author Information
Leigh Pearson, Mahidol University International College, Thailand
Alexander Nanni, Mahidol University International College, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2015
Stream: Education: social justice and social change

This paper is part of the ACE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon