I've started Bart's story, which means I've been researching and organizing said research for a couple of weeks now. I know a whole lot about hostage negotiation teams, drug busts, what happens to cops who are disgraced, and well, I better not say more so I don't give away the story. Research can be fun to do (and you have to know when to stop or you'll never write the story) and sort of boring to organize and make it useful.
I organize my research in two ways. I have a notebook where I take notes (leftover habits from my days as a journalist) and I have research files on my computer that I tab and organize for reference. Tons of bookmarks on the computer, of course, The internet is a wonderful research tool and I could research forever, I think. (Or at least research long enough to procrastinate the actual writing a little longer. *sigh* I probably shouldn't admit that I do that, but it's true. I need to break that habit someday.)
It's always funny to me when people think that because I write fiction I don't have to research because I can just make it up, right? Wrong. People will call you out if you don't know your stuff or if it doesn't ring true. I think I told you all the story about when I was reading a book that told about someone standing on a corner and hailing a cab in Provo, Utah. Since I lived in Provo, I know that wouldn't happen because there aren't many taxis and you'd be standing on a corner forever to hail one. Sort of ruined the story for me a bit because I knew the author hadn't done her research on the setting for her book.
How do you organize your research? Does it bother you when it's obvious an author doesn't know what they're talking about in a book?