It's important to be familiar with the concept of appropriate citation and acknowledgement of ideas during each step of the writing process.
University of Montevallo Statement on Academic Honesty
Many students in the U. S. get into trouble for what is called "cheating" or "plagiarism." "Cheating" means getting help that a student is not supposed to get on an assignment, quiz, or examination. "Plagiarism" refers specifically to the practice of copying from a book or other publication and not acknowledging that the words used are someone else's and not the student's.
What is Considered "Cheating"?
In general, students in the U. S. academic system are expected to do their own academic work without getting excessive assistance from other people. This does not mean that you cannot ask other students to help with class work. It is permissible and sometimes even advisable to seek help in understanding what is happening in a class and what a specific assignment is about. It is not considered proper, though, to have someone else do an assignment for you, or to copy answers or information from a publication in a way that makes it appear that the answers are ones you devised and composed yourself. That would be considered cheating.
Possible Consequences of Cheating
Some students cheat and are not punished for it, either because the cheating is not detected or because the faculty member in whose class the cheating takes place prefers not to take any action against the student who has cheated. In most cases, though, cheating is detected and has negative consequences for the assignment or examination on which the cheating took place; a failing grade for the course in which the cheating occurred; expulsion from the course (being required to leave); or expulsion from UM.
Source: "Student Code of Conduct"
The following excerpt from pages 42-43 of the University of Montevallo's Student Handbook, The Fledgling, describes what is considered to be plagiarism at UM as well as the possible penalties students may face for committing plagiarism. A more detailed explanation, including the process for resolving plagiarism charges, can be viewed in the full Academic Dishonesty Policy (found in the "Other Academic Policies" section of the Undergraduate Bulletin as well as in the Academic Resources section of The Fledgling).
The Purdue OWL is an excellent resource for everything research-related, including avoiding plagiarism. The chart below is a handy resource that can help you determine quickly whether or not you need to cite a piece of information.