The research process is messy, no doubt about it.
Step 1: Identify your topic. Narrow it down if necessary.
Step 2: Identify your primary keywords.
Step 3: Start searching in library databases. Don't forget to use the tools provided, like limiters!
Step 4: When you find a few sources you think may be useful, stop and review them. Discard any aren't helpful and save the ones that are.
Step 5: Do you have enough sources to start writing your paper?
YES: Start writing and make sure to cite!
NO: Return to Step 2 and 3 as necessary until you have enough information to start writing.
PROTIP: Sometimes you may start writing and realize you need more information. That's OK! Go back to Step 2 and continue the research process!
(Image CC-BY-SA, Susanna Smith: Georgia Highlands College Library, 2021)