Choose a topic that you are interested in, you will be spending a lot of time writing and researching this topic.
Be sure to follow the guidelines that your professor has given you for the research paper or assignment.
Once you have a general topic in mind, identify keywords and find some background information on your topic.
Narrow your topic
Topic too big? Below are some hints for narrowing your topic:
Population group: Narrow by age, race, sex, occupation, etc.
Geography: Narrow by geographical location.
Time period: Narrow time period.
Discipline: Narrow by looking through a specific discipline, for example: How does insomnia affect memory? (Psychology) OR What prescription drugs can assist patients with insomnia and how do they work? (Pharmacy)
Broaden your topic
Topic too narrow? Not finding research resources? Try the following:
Go BIG! Your topic may be too specific. For example if your topic is first year female college students and stress, broaden to college students and stress.
Think of similar or parallel topics
Keywords - go back and brainstorm more keywords for searching. You may just need to find the specific terms that refer to your topic.
Rethink your topic - Sometimes your topic may be too new and there may be very little scholarly research published on your topic yet.