What does the research process look like? Actually, much like the writing process: reading, formulating ideas, writing, reading, revising, reworking ideas, more reading, more writing, and, throughout all, thinking and rethinking. Our tendency sometimes is to think of the research process as a step one uses to get to writing and never returns to, but good research, like good writing, is often much less linear and straightforward than that. As we work through process and reconfigure our thoughts on and approach to a topic, often this involves expanding our ideas and gathering additional information sources. Think of research as you might think of learning--a cyclic process where experience and/or interaction with information leads to a reorganization of our conception of the world in some way which in turn leads to more experiences and interactions with information.
In sum: research, like writing, is fluid, iterative, and sometimes a bit messy.