The Research Process is recursive, not a straightforward step-by-step progression. There ARE steps involved, but they usually must be repeated as you learn more about your topic and perhaps revise and/or change the focus of your research. The process may also vary based on the purpose of your research and the field of study in which you are conducting your research. Don't get too "hung up" on following a rigid linear process. Authentic academic research is not always that "clean"...research is messy.