Turnitin: A Tool to Improve Academic Writing
What is Turnitin?
Turnitin from iParadigms is an online web-based text-matching software that identifies and reports on similarities between documents and is widely utilised as a tool to improve academic writing skills.
Turnitin compares electronically submitted papers against electronic text from a range of sources including:
- Text on publicly accessible internet sites (over 4.5 billion www pages)
- Proprietary databases (e.g. Gale e-publications; ProQuest databases, Emerald, selected electronic books)
- Previously submitted student papers (10 mill +)
- Assignments obtained from 'paper mills' (internet sites offering assignments / papers for sale e.g. cheathouse.com, researchpaper.com)
This software is currently used by many universities in Australia and internationally. The University of Western Sydney now provides this valuable addition to existing strategies for supporting the University's commitment for Academic Integrity.
How does Turnitin work?
Academics and / or students may submit documents through the institutional electronic content management system i.e. vUWS. In many institutions Turnitin is used as a pre-assessment filtering tool with students directly lodging assessments for review prior to final submission.
Results are returned in the form of colour-coded customised Originality Reports in which any text matches identified are highlighted and linked to their source. The Reports allow students and teaching staff to interpret similarity matches and determine whether plagiarism may have occurred.
Turnitin aims to develop student academic and writing skills by promoting awareness of plagiarism and strategies for avoiding inappropriate use of other's work. Students find the Originality Report useful for editing papers that include excessive direct quotes and paraphrases. Academics find the Originality reports useful as a tool to guide students in correct citation practices and highlight potential need for greater originality in student work.