I often hear from leaders that their employees seem to come to them to solve all the problems, send them in the right direction, tell them exactly what to do, etc. In my mind I would hate needing to get that much sign-off from my boss, but I realize that it is a prevalent problem in the workforce today. Here is a checklist to work through before you ask your boss for help.
1. Standard Operating Procedure. Is there one? Have you checked what it says?
2. Your notes from when you received the assignment. What? I cannot tell you how many people don't take notes when they are receiving a new assignment. Yes, it is a lot to take in at once, that is why you write down your steps so you have something to go back to.
3. Samples from prior similar assignments prepared by senior employees in the office. I'm not saying plagiarize, but do you know the accepted format? Does the boss like an executive summary up front?
4. Your independent research. And please do not tell me you went to Wikipedia only. There is a wealth of information at your fingertips. The trick is to synthesize it into something that is useful and reliable.
5. When you get stuck or have a problem - bring three possible remedies/solutions. Do not just say, I couldn't find anything, do it, etc. How can it be fixed, prioritized, reorganized into something sustainable, etc? Show you are a problem solver and it will earn you respect.
Asking for help is not a problem. It is when you are asking for help instead of doing your work that will earn you a bad reputation. What can you do today to make sure you are exhausting your own thought processes and research channels before you seek out the help of others?