Find research information from a wide variety of sources including journal articles, books, encyclopedias, and news sources. Gather more information than you expect to actually reference when writing your paper, but don't gather too much this can distract from the main point and you will end up putting it in your essay simply for the reason you researched it. Do not use wikipedia for everything, and do not copy and paste peoples replies; no matter what website you got it from, plagiarism will be found out.
Skim through your sources to separate the interesting research from the irrelevant material. Interesting research can be from books, york notes, and published critical essays on your specific topic. otherwise don't research things that aren't relevant ie. researching witches when your question is on monarchy
Reread the relevant material thoroughly and critically.
Highlight, underline, or otherwise mark any journal articles or books you own. Use different color post-it notes to direct your attention to critical details from library books.
Summarize or otherwise annotate each source after you've read it. Note a few important details and the source's main argument for future reference.
Brainstorm a thesis by reviewing your notes and research. You may choose to write out a rough thesis statement or you may instead opt to ask a critical question that your paper will answer.
Sketch out a rough introduction, recognizing that you may want to edit or rewrite your introduction later.
Develop a rough outline based on your research