The preparatory stages that build solid foundations for writing a successful essay or report include research and reading, note-taking and planning.
There are lots of useful online resources that will help you with all of these steps and strategies.
Among these are the following:

Brodie West adds:

This is just a short post to include a link I was given by one of my mentor teachers back on my first practical in 2011.

It's a brilliant little website that allows you to generate a rubric, and I quite like it. Hopefully some of you find it useful too.

Rubric Generator: RubiStar