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First, you develop and narrow down your topic -- the general idea of what you're going to be researching. From that, you need to develop your research question, i.e. what is the question you are attempting to answer by doing your research? This, in turn, will form the basis for your paper's thesis (your claim/argument/answer) which you'll explicitly state in your introduction.
Managing Your Research
While conducting research you will need to capture the articles and associated citations. Your process will be very individual, but be consistent and choose a tool to help organize your research. Some suggested tools below:
OneDrive - Cloud storage from Microsoft Office 365. 1 TB free for Lone Star College students.
Evernote - The Basic version is free. Works across all mobile devices. Create notebooks for each course or writing assignment. Be sure to download the Web Clipper as well.
Zotero - Zotero is a free, open access extension that runs in the Firefox and Chrome browsers that's designed to gather, download, and tag your research. Helpful tutorials.
EasyBib - Citation generator that is free for MLA.