Ethics, Society and Law Resources


A Reference book either in print or online is useful tool with which to begin your research. Specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias for ethics, society and law will give you summary articles for your topic with a bibliography of authoritative sources for further reading.

The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations. Edited by Patrick Hayden. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2009.

[Trinity Stacks, Second Floor JZ1306 .A83 2009]

Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics , Editor-in-chief Ruth Chadwick. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998. 4 volumes. 

Articles begin with definitions of key terms and a summary and end with “see also” references and a bibliography for further reading. The encyclopedia could benefit from revision to bring articles up to date after 9/11 but this is still a useful source for an overview of your research topic.
[Trinity Reference Collection, Main Floor BJ63 .E44 1998]

Encyclopedia of Ethics, By Susan Neiburg Terkel and R. Shannon Duval. New York: Facts on File, 1999.

[Trinity Reference Collection, Main Floor BJ63 .E46 1999]

Encyclopedia of International Relations and Global Politics. London: Routledge, 2005.

The Encyclopedia contains fifty major entries on contemporary topics including crimes against humanity, terrorism, failed state, and just war. Important concepts are cross-referenced and there are suggestions for further reading.
[Trinity Reference Collection, Main Floor JZ1160 .E593 2005]

Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Ethics is a three volume electronic encyclopedia which was revised in 2005 to include current ethical concerns. Topics such as bioethics, child soldiers, and war crimes trials are covered. Click on Contents to list the articles in the encyclopedia.  

International Ethics, Edited by Mervyn Frost. Los Angeles: Sage, 2011. 4 volumes.

Each volume of this excellent resource focuses on a specific theme: 1. Society of States 2. Global Civil Society: Non State Actors in World Politics: 3. The Changing Constitution of Global Politics 4. Ethics and Foreign Policy.

 The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics, Edited by Hugh La Follette. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

This handbook contains in-depth essays on the current thinking about ethical issues. Essays are divided into six areas: “Our Personal Lives”, “Moral Status”, “Equality”, “The Just Society”, “Justice and International Relations” and “Life and Death”. An extensive bibliography follows each article.
[Trinity Reference Collection, Main Floor BJ1031 .O94 2003]

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Entries are written and updated frequently by experts.  All articles have both a bibliography and a list of relevant web sources.


Decide on the type of search (Simple in which you can search for terms in any order that may be limited to author, title, subject, or call number; Advanced in which you can do Fielded or Boolean searches). Search results may be refined further by clicking on items listed in the left panel.
When you are starting your research, think of terms that describe your topic as succinctly as possible; think about related words, different word endings (i.e. humanitarian or humanitarianism) and synonyms for the terms you’ve decided on since the same terms are not used in every database.

Journal Indexes

Use an article database to search for articles in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, essay collections and conference proceedings.

PAIS International

PAIS provides references in the field of international relations, public affairs and social policy to journals, articles, books, government documents, research reports, internet material, and publications of international agencies.  Topics include ethnic cleansing, political persecution, globalization, and weapon stockpiles.

Social Sciences Abstracts

The journals indexed in this database are selected by specialists. Most entries have abstracts (summaries) to enable you to choose the most relevant articles for your topic.

 WorldWide Political Science Abstracts

This database indexes journals in political science, international relations, law and public administration. Major areas of coverage include but are not limited to: comparative politics, developing nations, politics and society, economic policy, and welfare systems.


Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

The Council’s mission is to be the voice for ethics in international policy. It promotes ethical leadership on issues of war, peace, religion in politics and global social justice. The site provides access to full text articles, papers, reports, transcripts, audio and video presentations.

Ethics Resource Center

The Center’s focus is the advancement of organizational ethics. It provides advisory services for organizations, conducts research and maintains a list of resources on general, organizational, personal and global ethics.

Ethics Updates

The best website for this subject, Ethics Updates provides resources and updates on current literature, both popular and scholarly that relate to ethics. Material is divided into three broad subject areas; Ethical Theory which includes such topics as religion and ethics, utilitarianism, race, ethical relativism, justice and rights theories; Applied Ethics which deals with topics such as abortion, war, terrorism, bioethics and animal rights; Resources which includes videos, surveys, case studies for discussion, guides to writing ethics papers and classic texts in ethics.


Ethicsweb is a collection of ethics related websites with a Canadian focus. One section “Applied Ethics Resources on WWW” is divided into topics such as animal welfare ethics, international ethics, environmental ethics and health care ethics. is a global network of persons and institutions engaged in different fields of applied ethics. The site offers access to resources on ethics especially through its global digital library and aims to increase the visibility of and access to ethics perspectives from Africa, Latin America and Asia. Registration is free.

Hastings Center

The Hastings Center is a research institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest. Select articles from their publications including the Hastings Center Report and IRB: Ethics and Human Research are available online (full online access for Hastings Center Report available through U of T Library webpage). Their Bioethics Forum page contains links to a number of blogs on diverse subjects.

Institute for Global Ethics

This nonprofit organization is dedicated to promoting ethical behavior in individuals, institutions and nations through research, public discourse and public action. It produces Ethics Newsline, an online source for news and information on current events.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Center focuses on bioethics, character education and business, campus and government ethics but it also has substantial resources in global, legal, media, technological and environmental ethics. Its publications include articles, case studies, blogs and podcasts.

Religion, Ethics and Politics in World Affairs (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics)

Created by Eric O. Hanson, the site examines the influence religion and ethics have on international systems, institutions, and countries and how political and ethics issues interact within each religion. Lists of resources are provided for each topic.

Revised November 2012