This 7-step model of the research process pairs nicely with the idea of writing as a process. This model is one of many research process models you might use. It is helpful because it points out how time-consuming and complicated research can be:
This is the stage in the process where you've just received your research assignment. At this stage, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed, apprehensive, and uncertain.
Selecting a Topic:
This is the point in the process where you've thought a bit about what you might want to research, in broad terms. You may have chosen something general like vegetarianism, video games, baseball, or autism; if you're doing community research, you may have chosen a dormitory, a church, a tattoo shop, etc. At this point, you might still feel confused or anxious about how to do research on your topic.
This is the stage in the process where you begin trying to find background information on your topic, or start focusing on one particular aspect of your topic. This can be overwhelming, so you might again feel confused or doubtful.Forming a Focus:
Once you've done some preliminary brainstorming and background research, it's a good idea to focus on one of your questions or subtopics.
When you begin to search for more information related to your question or focus, you'll probably begin to realize that there's even more work to be done! This is the most intensive stage of the research process, because you have to gather sources, and then read and evaluate them for quality and relation to your question. Depending on what you discover, you might find that your focus has changed after reading some sources. This is the most interesting part of the research process, because you'll be learning about your topic.
At this stage, you'll begin synthesizing the information you've gathered and actually begin writing or producing whatever project you are working on. This is also a very time-consuming stage. It is normal to feel overwhelmed about how to bring together the information you've found, and how to arrange and explain this information using your own voice, thought process and background knowledge.
After finishing a research assignment, it's a good idea to reflect about what you think you did well, and what you might need to improve next time. This is the stage where you may feel relieved or disappointed. If you have given yourself enough time, now is when you may ask someone to read your work so that you can observe any difficulties, and then revise those parts.