Preventing Plagiarism - Turnitin

What Is It?

Turnitin is web-based service that indicates what part of a student’s submitted writing matches other text its search engine can reach. Turnitin can check against material available in its repository of previously submitted papers, and/or against text on the Internet, including many books, journals, and newspapers. Checking for text similarity works best to discourage plagiarism when it is part of an overall course policy that promotes academic integrity and helps students recognize plagiarism. 

Turnitin is integrated into Canvas Assignments, and, when activated, automatically creates a report when the assignment is submitted online. It can be used in a Canvas assignment without requesting an account. The IU Knowledge Base offers information about Adding Turnitin to an Assignment, as does the Canvas instructor guide 

Turnitin can also be used through the company's website. To use Turnitin through its website, instructors must request an account from UITS administrators (contact the CITL). Instructors might choose this method when they want to check the originality of just one or two papers. For more information about submitting via the Turnitin site, see the IU KB document, At IU, how can I submit papers directly to Turnitin?

What Can I Do With It?

Instructors can read a report the matching sources of a student’s submitted text. This is called a "similarity report". Turnitin helps prevent plagiarism by  indicating material that may have been poorly paraphrased, improperly cited, or copied from other sources. To help students improve their citation and paraphrasing, instructors can allow students to see their initial reports and make corrections. Both rough drafts and final drafts of papers can be submitted and checked. The IU Knowledge Base offers an article on Best Practices for Using Turnitin. Turnitin supports submissions in over 30 languages and files types including pdf, docx, and pptx. 

Helpful Resources

  • Canvas Turnitin assignment: Assure successful submission and get a confirmation receipt.

      How-to video

  • Stappenbelt, B. & Rowles, C. (2010). The effectiveness of plagiarism detection software as a learning tool in academic writing education. 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Educational Integrity (4APCEI). 

The authors conducted a study showing a decrease in the levels of plagiarism in their class as a result of giving students access Turnitin.com.