In some schools, you have to present an outline or a mock proposal before you are allowed to proceed. If so, this is the time to do it. You want to make sure you get feedback on what you submitted so that you know whether your direction is acceptable. One you have found a topic, you must begin to find information. You want to start this step by looking online for general information. A search engine is a great starting off tool, but not much more. Pay particular attention to the domain names that follow a web address. Things that end in “.edu”, “.org” or “.gov” are the best because the information they present is typically more reliable. You want to be hesitant of the bias associated with “.com” websites. You can use the library to find many relevant sources as well. When you visit your school library, look through catalogs, encyclopedias, guides, government reports, magazines, newspapers, and other professional publications. When looking online, try to use special resource material including academic databases, the Wall Street library, periodicals, encyclopedias, reputable magazines, and newspapers. Read and evaluate the things you want and print out or photocopy the pages which are most relevant to your topic. Be sure to take relevant notes including the bibliographic information for the things you write down. Remember that any piece you print out, photocopy, or download is useless without the applicable reference; you won’t be able to cite it as a source.
Once this is done, you want to do some critical thinking and try to write down a preliminary thesis in one complete sentence. You want this to act as a declaration for the main point you are presenting. If you cannot do this, some additional research may be required. Write an outline using all of the points related to your thesis. The purpose here is to help you to organize the information logically before you begin writing. You can make sure that all relevant points are covered including the introduction and conclusion. Organize your notes and critically analyze the data you found. You want to check that the information you are planning to use is current and factual. If you need to include opposing arguments, do so. Digest the information you have learned and take from it what you want to present in your final research.