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Turnitin: What is Turnitin?

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Quick Notes

1. Turnitin is text-matching software.
2. Turnitin helps students to demonstrate academic integrity in their work.
3. Turnitin does not detect plagiarism.
4. A student's work might be stored (anonymously) in a repository and compared against other students' work in the future.

What is Turnitin?

What is Turnitin?

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.

Turnitin is provided by an external company. Monash University staff and students are licensed to use the service however you, as the end-user of the service, are required to confirm that you agree to the terms set out in the End User Licence Agreement (EULA). If you are under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must agree to the EULA. You only need to do this once, and should only see the agreement the first time you access Turnitin.

Why does the University use Turnitin?

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 (link opens in new window) in their work by teaching them how to use, generate and communicate information in an original, honest, and responsible manner.

It is important to note that Turnitin does not detect plagiarism. This is because Turnitin cannot make a judgement about whether plagiarism has occurred, it can only tell you 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 you use Turnitin?

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.

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 assignment guidelines for any instructions about the use of Turnitin. It is important to note that while Monash University does not define a percentage of similarity that is considered “safe”, some Faculties do have specific requirements. Therefore you should check your unit guide and your Faculty guidelines on the use of Turnitin.

Your 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 in Moodle. If entered into the repository, your work will be anonymous (unless you 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 (at Monash or other institutions) can request a copy of your Turnitin report if another student’s work matches your submission, but access will only be granted if your lecturer agrees.