A review of previous studies can be a good place to begin. These can be easily located by searching for "literature review" or "essay" as a search term. Some databases will also include literature reviews as a document type.
Browsing hte table of contents of a good journal can also help your develop your research topic. In this example, the journal Violence Against Women can be found from the Journals A to Z tab. This will link you to either a database or the publisher's webpage where you can review recent issues.
Here are the titles of some of the articles in the March 2012 issue
Subject encyclopedias, textbooks and recent books can all provide a good place to generate ideas for a research topic. Most of these sources will provide suggested sources to help you get started. Things to look for...
In this example the book, Gender and Sexuality: Sociological Appoaches includes a chapter discussing patriarchy.