Using the keywords and synonyms that you have already identified for your topic in "Choosing a Topic," you can begin your research with dictionaries or encyclopedias (general and subject-related), either in print or electronic format.
These will give you a working knowledge of your topic for you to then proceed on to looking for articles and books. Try the Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia and the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
To find subject-related encyclopedias in the KCTCS Library Catalog, type in your topic and add the word 'encyclopedia'. (Be sure you set location limits to find only things in BCTC's library.)
For example: alcohol and encyclopedia
Infoplease.com contains articles from the Columbia Encyclopedia, which, when searched, also lead you to other related topic articles. You may also search general topics such as Health & Science, Energy, Business, Education and Crime.
Internet Public Library contains almanacs with global and United States statistics, geographic atlases and data on climate, people, religion and economy of various countries and quotation sources.
Yahoo has a reference page containing online dictionaries and encyclopedias