1) Focus on a small area of research. Browse conference proceedings and recent issues of prominent journals for ideas. Opinion, commentary and perspective articles are particularly useful because they may discuss open avenues of research.
2) Start with a few topics in case one doesn't work out.
3) Read abstracts of high quality articles to save time.
What is a quality article?
Authors are reputable. Not sure? Ask your professor.
Authors come from reputable institutions
Authors are working in their field
Published in a high quality peer reviewed journal. Impact factor or Eigenfactor may help determine.
Depending on age, citation counts may indicate value to community
Current - not out of date
Unbiased - cites widely, less self citations.
4)Use a great article as a connector to other articles.
5) Once you have done some searching and reading, meditate on what is missing from the research. What is left to discover? For example, pick substances that haven't been full characterized or mechanisms that aren't completely understood.
6) When you have a topic, share with your professor and fellow students to see what they think.
Perspectives highlight recent exciting research, but do not primarily discuss the author's own work. They may provide context for the findings within a field or explain potential interdisciplinary importance. Perspectives that comment on papers in Science should add a dimension to the research and not merely be a summary of the experiments described in the paper. Although many Perspectives that comment on research published in Science are solicited, we welcome inquiries regarding new advances and fresh insights.