I would reference you first to Mythrian Tower (http://mythiran.allakhazam.com)
that will most likely answer most of your initial research questions. Although you can start to research at level 16 most people hold off until level 19, where they can invest in more than one point into the skill. The max skill-cap for research is (Level - 15)*5. At level 19 your max becomes 20, which you can increase through earned skill points or practice runes.
The website is woefully out of date and there are some holes in the information concerning where to get practice rune components. I can fill in a few gaps:
Practice Rune - easy to get components right outside of Freeport. Trivia at 21
Apprentice Rune - skipped and went right to Training rune
Training Rune - Go to Gfay and load up on wasp and pixie wings from the vendors. These are common drops and you can buy these by the stack. Zombie skins are harder to obtain, so if you hunt any undead save these. Rawhide armor can easily be purchased by the gypsy vendors in Oasis, or hunt the ogres in Timorous Deep.
Journeyman's Rune - easy to get the burned out lightstone killing wisps in East Commons. Rawhide same as Training rune.
Study Rune - Giant Bats can easily be found in abundance in Butcherblock. Hunt either giant rattlesnakes in N Ro or asps in Oasis for the fangs and rattles. Asps drop the fangs far more common than frequently. The giant scarab eyes are far more difficult. The most common drop area are the sand scarabs in Oasis of Marr (note: the scarabs in N Ro won't drop). They very rarely drop on the scarabs in Misty Thicket and Butcherblock, but the rate is so slow that it isn't worth your time. Ringmail is easily obtained in Highpass Keep from almost any of the vendors. Ringmail drops frequently from the gnolls, orcs, and goblins in the zone.
Hope this helps