Don't forget: in the first step of the research process, you outlined your thesis statement/questions, search terms, synonyms, and subject terms using the Research Plan. Keep this outline nearby as you read through your reference sources. This will help you stay on track.
Whenever you are assigned any topic, whether you are unfamiliar with it or not, it's a good preliminary step to take a few minutes to research the background information using Credo Reference. This database will give you a better foundation of knowledge for your topic, and will also provide a list of relevant, scholarly sources.
As you read the information from your reference sources, be sure to take note of any important terms, dates, and people. These notes will help you better understand the more scholarly research that you find through the library's resources.
In this video from Western University, they provide an easy way to determine if a scholarly article is worth your time: