When writing an essay or research paper, take a few steps to prepare yourself before you actually write. This will be beneficial even for the shortest essay, or the smallest topic.
Put all your individual ideas on post it notes (for research papers you use note cards.)
Divide your the post it notes into piles, so that the connecting or similar ideas are together in a pile.
Now go through and arrange the post it notes in each pile into a logical order. This could be chronological, or one idea builds on another.
Arranged the Piles into a logical order, same as the Post it notes.
Now you have your topics (Piles) arranged in order, and you have your ideas (post it notes) arranged in order, so all that is left is to transfer the information onto paper in a rough draft.
Write, write and rewrite--plan to rewrite essays and reports. Lable and save your drafts until the final revision is completed. You may find a place for that phrase you edited out earlier. Few GOOD writers get it right the first time.