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The University uses Turnitin, a plagiarism detection and prevention database which will provide feedback to you on the similarity of your work compared with a worldwide collection of resources and previously submitted student work.

The official description from Turnitin is:

Turnitin is the leading originality checking and plagiarism prevention service used by millions of students and faculty, and thousands of institutions worldwide. Turnitin encourages best practices for using and citing other people’s written material. The service offers a complete web-based service to manage the process of submitting and tracking papers electronically, providing better—and faster—feedback to students. [1]

Plain english.png Turnitin in Plain English

What is Turnitin?

Turnitin is anti-plagiarism software that compares the words in your assignment with words that have already been written and published by others. This includes millions of web pages, books, journal archives, ebooks, other eresources and every assignment that has previously been submitted to Turnitin. Turnitin also checks against web pages that no longer exist through utilising the Web Archive [2].

Whenever Turnitin finds a match between your words and a sequence of words found elsewhere, it is highlighted in an Originality Report, which shows which words / sentences / paragraphs were found and where Turnitin has found them e.g. links to websites, journal articles or a declaration that the content was previously submitted by another student.

Why is it used?

The university uses Turnitin for three main reasons. The first is to help you correctly attribute words and ideas to the original author, the second is to detect plagiarism and the third is as a platform for marking work / offering feedback.

  1. Referencing: The Turnitin Test Area has been set up in Blackboard for you to check the referencing, of your assignment, before you actually submit it. You should already understand the basics of referencing before running your work through Turnitin.
  2. Plagiarism: It is usually very easy for your tutors to spot when a block of words have come from another source and are not your own, but it can often be time-consuming tracking down the original source. Turnitin does this work for them.
  3. Marking: Most courses now require you to submit your work electronically, through Turnitin, and your marks and feedback are presented back in the same place. Although you will be able to see your marks in the Blackboard Grade Centre, your feedback can usually only be seen in Turnitin.

Who can see my assignment?

There are a limited number of people who can see what you have submitted to Turnitin. These are usually restricted to:

  • Yourself
  • Your marking tutor(s)
  • Other tutors who are registered on the module e.g. course leader, program leader
  • External examiners (for verifying a sample of marks given on the module)

There is also a case for tutors, from other institutions, to see your anonymised work if an Originality Report has highlighted that one of their students has presented some of your words as their own. These external tutors have to ask for permission, from your marking tutor, and this is not always granted.

Other students cannot see your submitted work, and you cannot see theirs, except where Peer Mark has been enabled.

What else is it used for?

Turnitin can also be used for Peer Assessment, whereby students mark each others work. This function is very rarely used at the moment and is the only time that your fellow students would be granted permission to view a piece of your work.

More reading.png Related Reading

Referencing and Plagiarism

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References.png References

  1. https://www.submit.ac.uk/static/resources/documentation/turnitin/sales/Answers_to_Questions_Students_Ask.pdf
  2. https://archive.org/web/