“Imagination is the highest form of research.”
Michael Ondaatje talks about plots coming to him as "a glimpse of a small situation." His novel The English Patient started out as two images—one of a patient lying in bed talking to a nurse, and another of a thief stealing a photograph of himself.
What do you want to write about? Let your imagination take you there. Find a quiet time of day and settle in for a mental movie. Just sit back and watch. What do you see? Give it a nudge and let the images write themselves. Do this until you need to write, then put the movie on pause. Record everything you saw and heard. Take it further if new material comes to you. Then repeat the exercise by rewinding a bit of the previous scene and allowing the movie to continue. Take notes on the characters your observed, the dialogue and mannerisms spoken, the setting in which they took place. Do this every day for a week or so. If you think you’re on to something, apply the other exercises to this idea and watch how it develops.