Once you have a general idea for a research topic, check with your instructor who can provide you with feedback regarding the viability of your topic and ways in which you might narrow the focus of your research.
Next, you will need to develop a set of keywords that you can use to search for journal articles and books.
What are the main ideas of your research topic? Example, you are interested in researching drug abuse by Hispanics in high school. What are the key concepts of this topic?
1) drug abuse
3) high school
Are there other words that describe these concepts?
1) drug abuse = substance abuse, drug addiction, crack, crystal meth, heroin, marijuana, etc.
2) Hispanics = Latinos, minorities, race, etc.
3) high school = secondary school, adolescents, teens, etc.
Are there other words that would help narrow the focus?
When looking at "drug abuse" and social work, you need to consider other words such as counseling, courts, intervention, rehabilitaion, residential treatment, or treatment.