Step 1: Step 1 - Brainstorming
Based on the unique assignment objectives, write all possible ideas or directions that you can take your paper.
This is most easily done by creating a brainstorming web centered around your topic.
For example: if your topic is Abraham Lincoln, then you can write his name in the middle of your paper, then draw 3-4 sub-bubbles around his name.
These sub-bubbles can include his childhood, his time as president of the United States, and details of his assassination.
From there, you can expand each sub-bubble by adding more ideas relating to each of them.
This process should allow you to develop a basic direction and idea pool for your research paper.
Step 2: Step 2 - Rough Draft
A rough draft is just that, a ROUGH draft.
In your rough draft, you can include any and all ideas that you think you can possibly use.
Write down everything you think you may need.
Spend this time exploring possible directions and transitions in which will create a research paper that will flow together nicely.
Step 3: Step 3 - Final Draft
Spend this time reading your accumulations of information and exploring different options as to how you want your paper to present itself.
Once you have organized your information in a way you are happy with, you can now proofread your work.
While proofreading: It is important to not only seek out grammatical and spelling errors, but to correct run-on sentences and incomplete thoughts as well.
Proofreading your work also gives you the opportunity to listen to the way your paper flows and how well your thoughts are organized and presented.