The first step in the research process is choosing a topic. Your topic should be broad enough that you can find sources, but narrow enough that your paper can sufficiently cover the topic in the required number of pages. For example, a topic of "Medical Marijuana" is too broad for a 3-5 page paper, but a topic of "Medical benefits of marijuana for the chronically ill" is just about the right size.
If you need some suggestions for ways to broaden or narrow your topic, the University of Michigan has a guide for Exploring your Topic.
If you need some inspiration for a topic, try brainstorming some ideas or you can:
Once you have chosen your topic, it is time to gather some background information about the topic.
(For Steps 3-6, click on the remaining tabs at the top. "Find E-books and Books", "Find Articles", Find Websites" and "APA Help")
Before you dive into your research, you should gather some facts about your topic.