As you begin tuning in, you will begin asking questions: What do I know about the topic? What do I know about my question? What do I need to know? What are some possible ideas about my topic I am interested in?
You will want to begin with some of these sources:

Sources

Library Catalogs

IST Online Library Catalog
Gateway to Library Catalogs from the Library of Congress
WorldCat(OCLC) (this also provides MLA, ready-made citations for sources)

Encyclopedias

(Entries marked with a # require a password. Go to online card catalog and login for passwords to subscription encyclopedias)
Answers.com http://www.answers.com
Britannica School Edition# http://school.ebonline.com/
Oxford Reference Online# http://www.oxfordreference.com/pub/views/home.html
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/
Worldbook# http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/home


Specialized Print Encyclopedias

A variety of specialized subject encyclopedias can be found in the print reference collection. Be sure to check them out. The following are a sampling.
REF 291 REL
Religions of the World: a Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2002.
REF 503 MCG
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
REF 903 NEW
New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. New York: Scribner, 2005.
REF 950 ENC
Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. New York: Scribner, 2002.

Online Search Tools

Choose the Best Search for your Information
Tools for Search (general and subject search tools)

Google Tools

Google
Google (Advanced Search)
Google Directory
Google Book Search
Google Scholar
Google News Timeline
Google Squared comparisons
Google Image Swirl
Google Fastflip news
Google Chart tools

Google tutorials

Google Web Search(from Google for Educators)
Google and Beyond (workshop from UC Berkeley)
Quick Reference: Google Advanced Operators (Cheat Sheet)
6 Techniques to Get More from Google
Google Guide online interactive tutorial and references

Beyond Google: 15 Tools & Strategies or here
Web Search Strategies from Common Craft video below:

Virtual Libraries

Blue Web'n
BUBL-Link
Internet Public Library Subject Collections
Virtual Learning Resources Center
Virtual Reference Desk
WWW Virtual Library

Subject Directories

About.com
Academic Info
Digital Librarian
Exalead
GeniusFind
Google Directory
Infomine
Intute
Librarians' Index
PINAKES: a Subject Launchpad
The Scout Report
VoS: Voice of the Shuttle
Yahoo

Science Specific

(open resources)
Applied Math and Science Education Repository: http://amser.org/#
Bentham Science Publications: http://www.bentham.org/open/index.htm
Directory of Open Access Journals: http://www.doaj.org/
Infomine--Physical Sciences, Engineering, Computing & Math: http://infomine.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/search?category=physci
Intute: http://www.intute.ac.uk/
LOC Selected Internet Resources: http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/selected-internet/general-scitech.html
National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST): http://www.nist.gov/index.html
National Science Digital Library: http://nsdl.org/
Public Library of Science: http://www.plos.org/
SCIRUS: http://www.scirus.com/srsapp/
Science Research Portal: http://www.scienceresearch.com/search/

Depending on one's research--these blogs may have possibilities: http://science.alltop.com/

As you customize you will want to consider Which browser for me?