You have been given your assignment from your tutor and you are staring at a couple of pages worth of notes trying to make sense of what the tutor is asking you to do. You try looking for search terms and keywords that will help you to decide what type of paper you are expected to write, as well as indications on the subject matter, but it all just seems a bit confusing as paper requirements seem to be mixed up with tutor notes on what he/she expects from you in your research paper. You have already learned that you do need to understand what format the completed assignment should take to get a good grade, but now you are being asked to work this out in a real life situation.
The first thing to do is read over your assignment requirements from start to finish without questioning what you are reading. As you read through the requirements your brain will automatically react positively to terms that it already recognizes and this recognition will help you to make the foundations of your assignment. Now read through the assignment requirements again but this time go through with a highlighter pen and mark down key terms. These can be descriptive terms like "describe", "compare" or "analyze" or they may be key terms relating to the subject matter such as "Capote", "In Cold Blood", or "journalism".
If you are still not sure what is required from your tutor after highlighting key terms, then check out the marking rubric, which will normally explain what the tutor is looking for in an A+ grade paper. These instructions should make it easier to isolate the important terms the tutor is expecting you to understand. You can use the marking rubric as the start of your paper outline if you find this helps.
When all else fails you need to see your tutor and get some clarification from him as to what he is looking for in a successful paper. Do not feel bad about having to take up your tutor's time - they may be busy people but so are you, and your tutor is being paid good money to help you pass his course so if you need to clarify anything with your tutor do this well in advance of the paper deadline.
Once you have sorted out what is required in your research paper you can start organizing your writing process. As understanding your assignment details is crucial if you are to focus your research and writing correctly in accordance with the tutor requirements make sure you absolutely know what you are doing before you start organizing your research paper.