Subject encyclopedias are invaluable starting points in the research process:
An investment of thirty minutes of your time with subject encyclopedias thus can save you hours of digging or flailing about in the sea of information!
The following links will take you to large digital collections of subject encyclopedias. The Gale eBooks is an especially good place to start for STS courses, as it includes the Mcgraw-Hill Dictionary of Science & Technology, Science and Its Times, and the Dictionary of Scientific Biography.
In most cases, you will be able to find what you need within the Gale collection, and should start there. Oxford and Sage can be backups.
Concept maps are a tool to help you:
Ask yourself: what do I already know about my topic? what am I curious about? what kind of data do I need, and where am I likely to find that data?
From a disciplinary perspective, think about what kind of questions scholars and experts in that discipline are interested in, and how they would ask those questions or measure their findings. What types of measurements will they be taking?
Finally, consider what you know about the resources available to you, and the types of sources that would be most helpful for you, and where might be most fruitful for you to begin your search. Are you looking for primary sources, such as newspaper articles? Do you need contemporary news articles or historical ones? If you're following up on the scholarly conversation around your topic, do you need to look for work by historians? Scientists? Sociologists?
The process is simple: start with a subject in the center, then: