photo: T. Amodeo 2010
1. Select a Topic
Pick something you can handle well within your time and space limitations. Don't pick anything so broad you can't say anything significant, or so narrow that there is nothing much to say. Try picking one aspect of a broad topic in which you're interested.
2. Get a good Overview
Use a number of good reference sources to get a handle on your topic, and perhaps identify the "classic" books and articles covering the subject. Examples of sources are general and topical dictionaries and encyclopedias, handbooks, research guides and bibliographies. Ask for help in identifying good sources at the Information Desk.
Suggestion: Take a look at a good encyclopedia, especially one that concentrates on the subject area of your topic. You can ask at the Information Desk for help with the Reference shelves in the Library. Search your topic in the E-Reference clusters such as Credo Reference, Oxford Reference online, GVRL and encyclopedic works in SAGE Knowledge, or use LINUS to identify a paper or online encyclopedia that addresses your issue.