Turnitin - detecting plagiarism?

Turnitin is a text-matching software which is currently subscribed to by the University.

The way in which the University uses Turnitin for summative assessment (plagiarism detection), and for teaching students about plagiarism (formative uses aimed to prevent plagiarism) are set out in the Policy on Maintaining Academic Integrity (June 2015). This Policy includes specific statements on how Turnitin can and should be used to support both of these two initiatives.

Guidance on using Turnitin

The following web pages provide hints, tips and guidance on the most effective use of the Turnitin software either separately from, or in conjunction with, the other institutional tools, Canvas and PebblePad.

University’s approach to Plagiarism

The institutional definition of plagiarism cited within the Policy on Maintaining Academic Integrity (June 2015)

“Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. This includes incorporating either unattributed direct quotation(s) or substantial paraphrasing from the work of another/others/or yourself. It is important to cite all sources whose work has been drawn on and reference them fully in accordance with the referencing standard used in each academic school.”

There are strategies that can be employed with Turnitin to help prevent plagiarism (with formative assessment) or to help detect plagiarism (with summative assessment).

  • Turnitin should be used in conjunction with the advice on interpreting originality reports available on the using academic judgement page.
  • To find out more information and advice on designing out plagiarism, please visit the CoLT page on How to avoid plagiarism.

Academic misconduct definitions and types

For more information on the different forms of Academic Misconduct please see the Academic Misconduct webpages which have more details, research and case studies.

It is important to note that Turnitin is ineffective against contract cheating. This is where assignments have been written to order and screened beforehand to eliminate detectable plagiarism. However, in cases where bespoke essays are resubmitted (recycled) to Turnitin by different students, these will be detected.

Guidance for students on plagiarism and Turnitin

The Skills for Learning webpage has many valuable resources that can help students during their time at the University. These include face to face workshops covering a range of topics such as: finding and evaluating information, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, academic writing, assignment planning and exam revision.

Additionally, Skills4Study Campus is a fully interactive online resource designed to help students with essential study skills. Core modules include: Reading and note-making, critical thinking skills, writing skills, referencing and plagiarism, group work and presentations and exam skills including workshops.

These resources and many more can be found on the Skills for Learning webpage.