Academic research broadly goes through three stages:
At times two, or even all three of these will overlap, but all of them need to be done in order for you to create your argument.
Collecting, the first phase, is all about the research. Try to find as much stuff as possible, through reading at different academic levels. Initially this will help you to develop your focus and buiöd a first (‘shitty’) draft.
Then you need to start curating. This term comes from the museum world, where there are so many artefacts in storage, museums are really mainly huge archives. But then somebody comes along to curate an exhibition – somebody selects which bits from the collection to show to make the point of the exhibition, just like you as a writer have to carefully select the evidence you want to resent. You need to decide which of your materials not to include, maybe because they are not about your focus, or too generic, maybe because they are too specific. You need to figure out what evidenc is missing, what you haven’t found on your initial collecting spree, and go back out there to collect some more.
Only then comes the communicating bit. Sometimes ou have a choice how to communicat your research, which you then need to consider carefully. As a student you might know what tape of communication you need to go for – an essay for example. In that case carefully research what is expected of you in terms of structure and language – and presentation. Knowing these things early will make it easier to curate your collections into the right format to communicate.