Before you dive into a research paper, it can be a good idea to do some background research. This will help you figure out a topic that is interesting to you, and introduce you to the major players in your particular area.
Many people do background research through sources like Wikipedia or general Google searching. You can also use a variety of specific encyclopedias that are available through the MSU Libraries.
Here are some suggestions for references that may be related to topics in your class. Some are print sources and some are available online. For print, you'll need the call number & location to find it. For online, you should be able to click the link to connect.