Now that you understand what you’ve been asked to do, have chosen a topic that fits the assignment, and have researched and organized that research, you’re ready to articulate your own opinion, argument, or assertion.
As you read and evaluate the information you discover, take notes. Keep track of your reference materials so you can cite them and build your bibliography later. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) and other university writing lab websites are excellent resources to help you understand what information you’ll need to collect to properly cite references.
After in-depth research, you can proceed to writing an outline. With all the notes and vital information that you gathered, start brainstorming where those certain topics fit in. To “brainstorm an outline” doesn’t mean that they have to be structured in sentences. Note down what part would be the beginning, middle and end. This is the part where your research paper starts to take shape.
Any information that doesn’t fit within the framework of your outline, and doesn’t directly support your thesis statement, no matter how interesting, doesn’t belong in your research paper. Keep your focus narrow and avoid the kitchen sink approach.
If you want to find helpful and reliable sources of information, the library is literally the best place to look around. There are numerous books, published articles, journals and etc. that you can choose from about your chosen topic.