What is Turnitin and Ethics of Using It

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About this sample


Words: 1296 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Oct 11, 2018

Words: 1296|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Oct 11, 2018

What is Turnitin?

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

  1. Turnitin is a text-matching software that checks a student’s written work against electronic texts from the Internet, published works (such as journal articles and books), and assignments previously submitted to Turnitin by other students.
  2. Turnitin is provided by an external company. University staff and students are licensed to use the service, however, as the end-user of the service, are required to confirm that agree to the terms set out in the End User Licence Agreement (EULA)

Why does the University use Turnitin?

  1. The University uses Turnitin as a teaching tool to help students develop a range of skills such as critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, paraphrasing and summarising, and citing and referencing. In particular, Turnitin helps students to demonstrate academic integrity in their work by teaching them how to use, generate and communicate information in an original, honest, and responsible manner.
  2. It is important to note that Turnitin does not detect plagiarism. This is because Turnitin cannot make a judgment about whether plagiarism has occurred, it can only tell us whether a particular piece of text matches to text from another source. The lecturer in charge of the subject will decide whether the text that has been identified as matching constitutes plagiarism.

What happens when using Turnitin?

  1. When assignments are submitted to Turnitin an Originality Report will be created. This indicates any text that matches to Turnitin’s database. The report also gives an indication of the overall proportion of matching text within an assignment, (the “similarity index”). More information about reading and understanding the originality report can be found under the originality report tab.
  2. Lecturers can use Turnitin in a range of different ways and for several different types of assignments. It is always a good idea to check the assignment guidelines for any instructions about the use of Turnitin. It is important to note that while University does not define a percentage of similarity that is considered “safe”, some Faculties do have specific requirements. Therefore students should check the Handbooks and the Faculty guidelines on the use of Turnitin.
  3. As a student, the work might, or might not, be stored in Turnitin’s repository for comparison against future student submissions. This is decided by the lecturer and depends on assignment settings. If entered into the repository, the student's work will be anonymous (unless have included personal information within the submitted document), and will only be available to the teaching staff for that unit. On rare occasions, other staff (other institutions) can request a copy of the Turnitin report if another student’s work matches the submission, but access will only be granted if lecturer agrees.

What does this report mean?

  1. Assignments submitted to Turnitin generate an Originality Report. This report is the result of a comparison between the text in the assignment and a range of sources including web pages, journals, and assignments previously submitted to Turnitin. Any matching or highly similar text discovered is highlighted in the Originality Report.
  2. Similarity does not necessarily mean have plagiarised. The Originality Report shows that the assignment contains phrases or sentences that appear in another work. To avoid appearing to have plagiarised, we need to check whether the highlighted sections in the paper are directly copied from a source or contains poorly paraphrased sentences.
  3. Quoting correctly: If the highlighted text is a direct quote from the original source, enclose it with quotation marks and include a correctly formatted reference. In some referencing formats, additional information should also be provided with direct quotations, such as page or paragraph numbers from the original source. More information about referencing formats can be found on the Citing and Referencing (Handbook).
  4. Paraphrasing correctly: Paraphrasing appropriately means presenting ideas in our own words and our own sentence structure, while still including an appropriate reference. An example of poor paraphrasing is to copy sentences from the source and include them in paper with superficial changes, such as replacing some words in the sentence with synonyms. This can lead to unintentional plagiarism, as replacing words does not make something original. Instead, we should focus on the idea presented in the source and present that idea in our own words and sentence structure in writing, remembering to include a reference to the source.

What percentages are safe?

  1. According to the Turnitin article on Interpreting, Turnitin Originality Reports “There are no clear-cut rules for this as all work will probably contain some words from other sources. As a guide, a returned percentage of below 15% would probably indicate that plagiarism has not occurred. However, if the matching text is one continuous block this could still be considered plagiarism. A high percentage would probably be anything over 25% (Yellow, orange or red). Again this will depend on the student's work and the requirements of the report or essay”.
  2. It is now a requirement for all students to pass their written assignments, be it coursework, theses, research papers, project reports through plagiarism detection software. In the case of theses, research papers and project reports, supervisors are required to sit with their students and run the thesis, research paper or project report through Turnitin in order to provide guidance on any revisions that may be required as a result of this process. Supervisors must then sign the relevant forms indicating that the student has indeed run their work through a plagiarism detection software.
  3. Post Graduate Students submitting theses, research papers or project reports for examination must submit an electronic copy of the Turnitin report to the Office.

    Who - Turnitin Instructors / Administrators – Mr. David/ Ms.Pearly Chua/Mr. Izwandie & Academic Div.-Prof Gopi/Dr.Ravi

Guidelines on 'Ethics of Using Turnitin' for Instructors

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  1. Instructors are required to create classes and enroll students in these classes.
  2. Students/Scholars should be informed that their work will be checked through anti-plagiarism service, therefore, they must follow the proper documenting style in writing report/paper/thesis.
  3. References/bibliography and table of contents must be removed from a document which is submitted. If these are included then the similarity index of the document will be increased.
  4. The instructor may allow students to view their reports.
  5. The instructor will maintain the privacy and will not disclose any report to anyone except the concerned person and to the concerned authorities if required.
  6. If Scholar/Student is involved in checking of papers and of theses of any other person, the instructor shall report to University authorities about that with valid proof.
  7. Originality/Similarity reports generated by the Turnitin provide clues in form of text matches. Proverbs, Universal Truths, phrases etc.
  8. Scholars/Students must make sure that document they are submitting is in proper documenting style and is free of plagiarism.
  9. If the report has a similarity index =5% without citation then it needs to be revised.
  10. If similarities of a report are from author's own (previous) work then these may be ignored only if the material has been cited by the author.
  11. As documents which are checked through this service are not yet published and no benefit is acquired, therefore, no punishment or penalty is recommended. It is advised that similarities at a greater level may be taken care of in the light of the PGDE plagiarism policy.

Guidelines on 'Ethics of Using Turnitin' for Administrators

  1. Universities/Institutions need to apprise students/faculty members about the Plagiarism Policy and Turnitin service.
  2. The Administrator needs to create accounts of all faculty members of his University/Institution.
  3. 3. The Administrator will maintain the privacy and will not disclose any report to anyone except the concerned person and to the concerned authorities if required.
  4. 4. If Instructor/Scholar is involved in the screening of papers and of theses of other authors then the administrator shall report to the University authorities with evidence.
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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

What is Turnitin and Ethics of Using It. (2018, October 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
“What is Turnitin and Ethics of Using It.” GradesFixer, 08 Oct. 2018,
What is Turnitin and Ethics of Using It. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
What is Turnitin and Ethics of Using It [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 08 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from:
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