Once you have selected a topic, the next step is to develop research questions.
Avoid confirmation bias!
You are not looking solely for information that supports your own opinions. You need to ask what it is you want to know about a topic, and then research to find out what other people are saying.
After reading and thinking about the information you find, you can then come to a conclusion. This conclusion is your thesis statement. Your paper will focus on supporting this conclusion, and you will include sources that you found during your research to back up your argument.
Remember -- you should come to your own, NEW conclusion, not simply repeat what you find in your research. That is called a report or a review of literature. Doing a research paper is not an exercise in repetition or summarization.
What do or don't I know about the Endangered Species Act (ESA)?
I don't know: