Start by thinking. Your instructor may provide you with a selection of topic ideas.
Select a topic that interests you.
Read some background information about your topic. Good sources that provide overview and background information include encyclopedias, other reference books, and selected articles from collections such as "Issues and Controversies" that summarize a specific topic/research question.
State your research topic as a single sentence or question--what are you trying to find out?
Brainstorm keywords that describe your topic.
Narrowing a topic:
If you are describing your topic in one or two words, such as "crime," "education," or "smoking," it is too broad. If you are finding hundreds of potential sources, your topic is too broad and poorly defined. A good, manageable topic addresses a specific question or situation.
Try the sources listed below to browse for topic ideas:
Provides single topic in-depth, unbiased reports with pro/con arguments, historical facts, and statistics in health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy.
Contains contextual information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues drawing from full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.
Browse your textbook and other class readings for topic ideas and suggestions
Draw on what you have read or seen in the news recently that interested you
Pick a topic relevant to your life--considering a career in healthcare? Hoping to start your own business? Interested in technology or animals? Choose a topic that allows you to learn about something you can apply to your daily life.