1.) Start with an entry from a scholarly encyclopedia (choose one from below). Pay attention to how scholars talk about your topic - what terms do they use? Is there any specific language associated with your topic?
For example, if you wanted to research women in Islam, look at the subsections from this entry about Women's Roles (from the Encyclopedia of Global Religion):
These section headings alone provide several useful search terms and point to important people and movements that might be worth exploring further.
2.) Next, search for articles and books about your topic. Use the keywords/search terms you found while reading the encyclopedia entry.