Once you have your sources selected, it's always a good idea to organize them and gather your thoughts on them. Reading through them and taking notes while you read can save you time and effort and help you see how all the information fits together. More on this process in the video below:
Organizing Sources, a PALNI video by Joshua Vossler
Once you've taken notes, you can create an outline or even a rough draft to help you connect and synthesize the information you've gathered.
Plagiarism--using someone else's ideas and/or words without giving them credit--is easy to do; often, when students do it, they don't realize it. If you use information from a source and then don't cite a source in the text and/or on your Works Cited/References list, you've done it. It's a form of stealing, and it can have some very devastating consequences to your academic success, whether that's getting an F on your paper or failing a course--or even suspension from the college or university you're attending.
Avoiding Plagiarism, a PALNI video by Joshua Vossler
Remember, there are almost always cite options available in databases and library catalogs, so look around for anything that says citation or cite. Often, these machine-generated citations are formatted correctly, but double-check for mistakes in spelling or capitalization errors. (Some records have titles and/or author names in all caps.) Here's an example of database citing in a video made by librarian Cassaundra Bash: