When I hone in on a topic to write about, then I plug the keywords into the search engine and away I go. I tend to use Yahoo more than Google, just because I have Yahoo as my email provider and homepage.
Next, when the list of sites come up, I read the title and the introduction beneath it and then decide if it's what I'm looking for. I click on the site, give it a quick overview, then bookmark it if it has what I need. I usually bookmark 2 to 3 sites if they have what I need in different formats.
Then I go to the library and print them out (I have a laptop and don't currently have my own printer) then I highlight the sentences that have the info I need. Somtimes I will just take notes right off the site into a notebook and put the title of my next article at the top.
If I need to do a survey, I'll ask questions on Yahoo Answers and MSN qna live then pull the data from all the answers and use a quote from two or three people. Then I use the data in my article (for example, "3 out of 4 people preferred Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi").
Then I compile all my notes, data, quotes, etc. and I do a rough outline on MS Works Word Processor. When that's done, I save it then start writing! Then I copy and paste the article to HubPages, AC, Shine, or whatever site I am publishing the content on for that day.
This seems to work for me, and I have a lot of fun researching this way.