STEP ONE: Always start a research paper with a thesis. A thesis is the main point which will be supported throughout the paper).
STEP TWO: Brainstorm Ideas - Jot down main points that you wish to include as supporting ideas. A good way to brainstorm is by using a bubble graph which has a main bubble in the center (containing your thesis) and extends out to several other bubbles (each containing one supportive idea and specific supportive examples and information pertaining to that idea). Continue to modify your ideas and supporting data (taking out and adding on) until all information seems balanced.
STEP THREE: Using the ideas, examples, and information you accumulated during brainstorming, create an outline which shows a general perspective order and natural flow. I advise leaving extra room in each section for new examples or information you may find as you research.
STEP FOUR: Research your thesis.. Look for statistics, expert or respected opinions, or any other information that supports your thesis. Make note of all useful information you find and be sure to include source information in your notes.
STEP FIVE: Create a rough draft in sentence/paragraph form which follows the flow of your outline and includes each piece of information you attained through research with the appropriate topic.
STEP SIX: I highly recommend that the rough draft of a research paper always be reviewed through a spelling and grammar checker (can be a live person or automated, but I recommend BOTH) and an automated plagiarism checker.
STEP SEVEN: Create your final draft taking great care to address and resolve all issues suggested in step six. I recommend repeating step six after the final draft is complete to be safe.
Writing a good research paper is no easy or fast task. It takes time, thought, research, careful attention to details, and hard work. Many research papers will go through many drafts before being perfected. Good Luck !