Now that you have read and taken notes on the resources you've collected, it's time to go back and re-visit your original research question and outline. Ask yourself:
Next, organize your notes. Give each portion of your outline a code, symbol, or color, and then read through your notes and assign corresponding symbols or colors to the notes that support or explain the points of your outline. Getting your notes organized will help you when you start to write. You'll be able to refer back to your notes and find the quotes or information you need, without having to read through everything over and over again.
As you read through your notes, evaluate the information you've collected. See "Evaluating Information," below, for suggested questions to ask yourself as you read.
Introduction: Your first paragraph should pave the way for your readers to understand the point of your paper. Provide some background information to give context. State your research question or thesis statement clearly, and let your readers know that you plan to answer the question or support the statement in the coming paragraphs.
Body of text: Look for a natural order to emerge as you work on your outline. Your job is to take your readers from ignorance of your topic to understanding, as smoothly as possible. The order you choose may depend on the type of paper you are writing. For example,
Conclusion: Sum up the points you have made and the conclusions you have drawn. Remind your readers of your initial research question/thesis statement, and show briefly how you have answered or supported it. Avoid drawn-out, sentimental, or flowery conclusions. Keep it simple, and end strong.
The above section relies heavily on Chapter 10 of William Badke's Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog, 5th edition (iUniverse LLC, 2014).
As you look through and read the information (articles, books, websites, etc.) that you have gathered, it is important to critically evaluate what you find. Some information may seem to fit your criteria, but may not be appropriate upon evaluation. Here are some criteria by which to evaluate the information you find, as well as questions to ask in your evaluation: