Using Turnitin for plagiarism detection and prevention

Turnitin is an online text matching system that can be used to help identify potential plagiarism in student work that is electronically submitted. It can also be used in a formative way, for tutors to help students develop their academic writing and citation skills.

Oxford University has a subscription to the UK Turnitin service, so university staff members may use it at no cost to their departments. Oxford University Computing Services (OUCS) manages the service and creates instructor accounts on request (send email to OUCS offers lunch time training sessions for staff members (bookings are essential) and guidance is available within WebLearn on the Plagiarism Support site.

The WebLearn Assignments tool has an integration feature with Turnitin, which means that students do not require any additional passwords or instructions on how to submit their assignments. A future edition of the AAD News Alert will contain information about the Student Administration online submission pilot project, which is investigating policy and procedures for using the WebLearn/Turnitin integration for examined work.

After student papers have been submitted and compared to various repositories and databases, an Originality Report (OR) is produced for each submission, which highlights parts of the student’s text which match existing sources.  Academic judgement is required to interpret the report and make a decision based on the particular circumstances.

OUCS is currently working with the Proctors’ Office and the Education Policy Support Unit to consolidate all the guidance about the formative and summative use of Turnitin into a single source of information for use across the university. The document is still in the draft stage, but after approval, it will be available on all the relevant websites.

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