You've chosen a topic and established a realistic time-table; it's now time to begin searching for background information. There's no single approach to the research process. Much depends on one's experience with library and other resources, and, on one's knowledge of the topic being researched.
Literature Resource Center can be a useful starting place. This database provides criticism, biographies, bibliographies, work overviews and explications, Web sites, periodical articles, compare and contrast pages, and reading lists on nearly 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world. Other places to start might include:
Reference Universe: good for searching selected reference e-books, as well as the indexes of books in the library's print Reference Collection.
Wikipedia: content may change, but often is quite reliable. Be sure to corroborate results by searching another source as well.