The first step in the research process is to identify a topic.
A topic is the subject you will be writing about. You may be assigned a topic by the instructor, or you may be given a list of topics to choose from, or you may be asked to write an essay on a topic of your choice. The last choice is often the most difficult for students. If you are stumped and don't know what to write about, the sources on the left may help you choose a topic.
Guidelines for choosing a topic:
Ask yourself questions about the topic to arrive at a reasonable thesis statement about your stand on the topic. Sometimes asking the questions how, when, what, where, and why might help you narrow your topic. If you choose to write about social networks, here are some questions to ponder: Are social network sites good or bad? Does social networking improve the quality of our lives? What are the psychological and sociological effects of social networking? Is social networking affecting the labor market?
Once you decide on your topic, write down as many related words and ideas that come to mind such as "social networking" "online networking", "social tools", "online communication tools" or you could search by specific social networking tools such as Facebook, Tinder, Twitter, Bebo, Linkedin, etc.
For more help on choosing a topic, consult Purdue's Online Writing Lab site: