The first step fo the research process is to know the assignment and what guidelines/requirements the professor has given. Take note of the following:
Topic: Have you been assigned a topic for you to write about or can you choose a subject of interest to you, which fits into the guidelines of the assignment.
Type of research: What type of research is needed? Do you need original research (such as survey or experiment) or are you able to use secondary research (such as research published in books/journal articles)?
Scope: Do you need to analyze a topic from different viewpoints or do you need to take one position and defend it?
Sources: Are you required to use a certain number and/or type of resources in your research?
Citation Style: Has the professor, specified a citation style for you to use in citing your sources? If not, which style is appropriate for your subject?
Format/Length: Is there a page limit for the completed assignment? Has formatting guidelines, such as line spacing, numbering, or font size been given?
Due date: When is your paper due?
What makes a good topic?
A good topic is:
Broad enough that you can find enough information on the subject.
Focused enough that you are not overwhelmed with too much information.
Interesting to you
Keep in mind, good research takes time and effort.
Initial Library Resources Check
It is always good to brainstorm about your topic before jumping into a library or internet resource search. Your text book as well as the library's online catalog can help provide a good overview of your topic.