(1.) Before you begin searching for information on your topic you will need to do some thinking. When you begin to work on a research paper you often have a general idea of what you want to research (e.g., I want to do a paper on television). As you think about your topic and discuss it with your professor and classmates you should begin to have a more specific idea for the topic of your paper. At this stage, it is useful to try to communicate your topic by writing it in the form of question:
Example: What are the effects of television violence on children?
Try describing your topic below in the form of a written question:
(2.) Look at this question and try to identify the main concepts (or components) of your topic. There are usually at least two concepts although sometimes there may be three.
Example: What are the  effects of  television  violence on  children?
(3.) There will probably be more than one word to describe each concept. Use your brainstorming skills to come up with several related words (or synonyms) for each concept. For example...
Now, try it with your topic. Use reference sources (either printed sources - dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, thesauri, etc. or electronic sources - Web sites) to help you discover synonyms for your topic.
These are the words that you will use when you search for information in many different sources in the library. You will almost certainly add to this list or delete concepts from it as you progress through your research.