Understand the type of assignment you've been given. Here are a few types of papers that are common:
- Exploratory--present information on a topic
- Argumentative--discuss two or more sides to an issue, persuading the audience that a position/opinion has more evidence to support it
- Compare/Contrast--explore the differences and similarities of two issues or things that have a common purpose
- Explication--explain / interpret a creative work, such as poetry, paintings, stories, etc.
- Critique/Analysis--analyze the effect/value of a project
Choose a topic.
Choose the type of resources you need based on the topic.
- Basic facts, overview--reference works, including encyclopedias. Some websites
- Interviews, opinions--newspaper articles. Some websites.
- In-depth, historical--books.
- Research and analysis--journal articles.