The questions you have raised are very relevant.
Perhaps you are trying to complete your research/PhD in India. Mostly in US - your research work would be guided by the Guide you choose. Most of them publish - and have a rich base in the topics they want to research.
At the place i am doing my course - there are two distinct species
A) Working on live projects/consulting assignments of their thesis guide
B) Working on a topic one is deeply interested in
If you do not fall in these two categories - life for you is trouble.
So how to proceed?'
A) Do a literature review. Spend time in library. Study all and sundry that you come across related to the topic of your interest.
B) Give a deadline for activity A. Say 1.5 months/3 months. Then find out the research gaps.
C) Focus on the gaps which you think you can address - In terms of resources you can manage, the data collection methodology etc. One/two months
D) Now refine the methodology. One month
The REsearch Proposal should be ready.
Hope this helps.
To be or not to be....