After you have determined a topic you will need to gain an overview of that topic by reading background materials. As you begin to acquire knowledge about your subject you may need to adjust your topic, but try to always have a clear idea of your goal or you can waste time and energy.
After you think you have selected a topic the next step is background reading to gain an overview of the topic and determine if it will work for your research assignment. General and subject encyclopedias are an excellent resource for people, dates, events and concepts on your topic. There are not digital subject encyclopedias available for every subject, but here are the links for some from the NICC library collection: