The first step in the research process is to select a topic. The topic you choose should be neither too broad nor too narrow in scope. Rather, it should be specific with some well-defined boundaries. To help you define a research topic, consult background resources, such as scholarly encyclopedias, to learn more about your topic and to find recommended related articles and books on the topic. If, when you search for sources on your topic, you get too many results, you may want to narrow your topic further. If you get too few, you may need to broaden its scope.
Other elements you may want to consider to help you define your topic include:
Once you have defined your research topic, brainstorm a list of search terms, and explore some books and articles to get an overview of your topic, you will need to develop a research question. While your research topic may be as simple as "vegetarianism," your research question will be more specific. It asks: