If you are writing something that requires a fair bit of research, you need to have a system in place.
Library – The library holds many resources that are in one building. It takes miles from your footwear. The librarian can help to direct you if needed. You will find catalogues and reference books. I have a large list of books that may be used for bibliographical aids, reference guides, quotations, periodicals, book reviews, facts, opinions, history, geography, general biographies, politics, science or technology, economics, philosophy, religion, arts or folklore and more. If you would like to have this list, even though it is a bit dated, just write in the comment box which area you need.
Notes – using cards can help you organize yourself. The cards should have at least three things on it: the note itself, the exact source, and a label. This is what you will use for selecting where it fits in. The note should have: at least one point, be brief as possible, distinguish if it is a direct quote, paraphrase, or a summary. (Or combination of all three.) Try to use your own words as much as possible. Be sure that you distinguish between opinion and factual information. If you will be using footnotes, be sure to accurately document where the info came from. Once you have gathered your data, create a …
Preliminary Outline – You may feel that you would like to toss some of the info you have gathered, but hold on to it for a bit. There could be a crucial piece of info in there that you will use somewhere. Number your cards.
Record your own ideas – write them down so you will remember them later on. I think, at times, oh ya, I’ll remember that. The next thing I know, I’m sitting there scratching my head. Dang it..why did I not write that down!!
Write you word – follow the card layout. Yes, you can revamp. This is your first draft. Ensure tthat you write the sequence of your card number, as used in the draft, on your card. Repeat this step until you are satisfied with the flow of the story and have worked up to your final draft.
Critique – this is the sit back, forget that you sent it off for a critique part. Start your next project to help take you mind off it.
So this is a quick overview. I could go in to more detail, but really, there are professionals out there who give workshops that allow you to put this into practice. I put this in the blog because I was asked, previously, how I came up with story lines, sequencing, etc.