The first stage in writing a research paper is deciding on a topic.
Follow these steps:
You may need to adjust the scope of your topic based on how much information you find in the early stages of your research.
If your topic is too broad:
If you find too much information, try focusing on one of the following:
If your topic is too narrow:
If you can't find enough information on which to base a paper, think about how you can expand the scope of your topic. Use the topic narrowing criteria above in reverse; for example, look at a larger group of people, a broader time period, or a wider range of situations.
At this point, you should translate your topic into a search strategy that you can apply in the library's online catalog and journal databases:
First, attempt a broad search in the catalog or database. Use few words and reword your search term at least 5 different ways. Each search may yield different results.
You're ready for the next step! Go to Search Strategies: Background Information