Academic Integrity

Using Turnitin

What is Turnitin?

  • Turnitin is the Turnitin Originality Checking Software supplied under license from iParadigms Europe.

How does it work?

  • Turnitin is a text-matching software which provides a report on whether a student's work is original (no matching text) or unoriginal. Turnitin does not detect plagiarism: it is one tool to assist staff in detecting and deterring plagiarism.
  • Submitted work is matched against a database of previously submitted work from every institution which subscribes to Turnitin, including international institutions; current and archived internet pages and databases of journals and periodicals.
  • Each instance of matching text should be examined individually for full and correct referencing.

Guidance for deterring plagiarism and examples of good practice for implementing Turnitin are available at the Guide for Staff. NB: It is NOT recommended that students have more than one opportunity to submit work after the initial introductory session/s on Turnitin, unless Turnitin is being used in conjunction with formative draft writing.

Guidance on using the Turnitin and Moodle software is available at the E-Learning website.


Guidelines for Using Turnitin

The following guidelines have been designed to promote a consistent use of Turnitin and the Originality Report across different Schools and Faculties, as well as across modules within the same programme, whenever applicable. The guidelines will contribute to provide students with a consistent experience of assessment and will support students’ development of academic writing, referencing styles, plagiarism awareness and academic integrity.

Turnitin and the Originality Report (OR) are a learning and assessment tool and not a plagiarism detection tool. When used as part of a formative approach to assessment, Turnitin can support students’ development of sound academic practice and assessment literacy. One aspect of this is that it is important that students always get to see the Turnitin Originality Report (as agreed by Education Board May 2018). The use of Turnitin should, wherever applicable and possible, be introduced as part of formative assessment activities where students can familiarise themselves with the platform before using the service on summative assignments.

When setting up your Turnitin assignments, we suggest that you follow the guidelines below. These guidelines are not binding, but we suggest that they are adopted across Schools, as they will contribute to a more consistent student experience.

The guidelines have been drawn up with particular consideration being given to the following objectives:

  • to ensure student equity
  • to ensure consistency across modules and programmes
  • to encourage the development of good academic practice, scholarship and learning
  • to avoid a policing approach to the improvement of student academic writing and assessment literacy
  • to ensure that students have a clear understanding of the issues and procedures involved
  • to ensure the Turnitin Originality Report is perceived and used as a learning rather than a plagiarism detection tool.


  1. Module Preparation

      1. if you use Turnitin, ensure all student information is updated accordingly
      2. your module(s) documentation is valid and up to date
      3. ensure you are familiar with the Turnitin service (if you need support please contact your FLT)
      4. whenever possible use Turnitin for formative assessment tasks
      5. familiarise yourself with the University academic misconduct procedures


  2. Student Induction

      1. explain to students what Turnitin is, how it operates and why you use it
      2. ensure your students understand that Turnitin will not be used at an individual, per student, basis
      3. ensure that your students are familiar with University academic misconduct procedures


  3. Setting up Turnitin assignments for different Stages

    a) Stage 1 – multiple re-submissions allowed

    Students may resubmit multiple times up to the due date and access the OR after every submission (currently, students can submit 3 times before there is a 24 hour delay in the production of an OR).

    In Stage 1, students will be given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with and understand academic integrity and good practice. Students should be encouraged to discuss their drafts with their teachers and/or learning advisors whenever possible.

    One Turnitin assignment allowing multiple submissions up until the due date will be set up for every piece of assessment, whenever applicable.

    b) Stage 2 and Stage 3 – one re-submission allowed

    Students may submit a draft version for each Turnitin assignment and access the OR once.

    Also in Stage 2 and 3 students should have the opportunity to use Turnitin as a learning tool.

    Two Turnitin assignments will be set up for every piece of assessment, whenever applicable. Each Turnitin assignment will allow one submission only: one for a draft and the second for the final version of the assessment.

    c) PG – one re-submission allowed

    Students may submit a draft version for each Turnitin assignment and access the OR once.
    Also at PG level, students will be able to access the OR once before submitting the final version of their assessment.

    Two Turnitin assignments will be set up for every piece of assessment, whenever applicable. Each Turnitin assignment will allow one submission only: one for a draft and the second for the final version of the assessment.

    In case of modules comprising different Stages, students will be grouped by Stage cohort on Moodle. Each cohort will have access to their relevant Turnitin assignment(s) only.

  4. Dealing with Suspected Plagiarism

    The Turnitin Originality Report or its percentage value are not per se an indicator of plagiarism, use your academic judgement when determining an incidence of plagiarism after careful consideration of the originality report and sources of matched text.

    Ensure you follow University academic misconduct procedures as per academic procedures


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Guidance for Staff

Before you start

If you intend to use Turnitin, you need to consider:

  • School guidelines and procedures for online submission.
  • Archiving of work stored electronically.
  • University Guidelines on using Turnitin.
  • Adequately preparing your students for Turnitin.

If you are using Turnitin as part of School policy, some of the advanced options may be defined by the policy. Check with your School Administrator for details. See the Elearning website for detailed guides on using Turnitin in Moodle.

Using and Interpreting the Originality Report

You may decide to use Turnitin to help detect and deter plagiarism using the Originality Report. This provides a summary of how much text is 'original' i.e. not matched to other sources, and how much is 'non-original' i.e. matched to other text. It is not a plagiarism report: it provides a summary of the instances of matching text. It may identify common words such as 'this,' 'on the one hand' etc., and it does not separate correctly cited sources from plagiarised text. More information on interpreting the originality report.

A low percentage indicates a low incidence of matching text. A low percentage may mask academic misconduct if:

  • the copied text is a key sentence from a longer work (eg research findings, key ideas or conclusions)
  • paraphrased or summarised text, including ideas have been used without acknowledgement

A high percentage of matching text may indicate:

  • poor academic writing
  • an overuse of quotations
  • plagiarism.

A 100% match may indicate the accidental resubmission of work, incorrect settings in the assignment settings (check preferences) or outright copied or purchased work.

Academic judgement and determining plagiarism

So what percentage matters? It is important to use academic judgement on each individual piece of work. Ask yourself:

  • Is this work at the standard I expect from this student?
  • Has the student attempted to cite source material?
  • Are there instances of sudden changes in voice, style, formatting or argument?
  • Is the matching text from a genuine academic source or from poor internet research?
  • Are the sources in the course reference list?
  • Is this poor academic writing or academic misconduct?

The Originality Report is an aid for you to use in conjunction with the other methods to detect and deter plagiarism. It is not recommended that you use Turnitin alone to determine if a student has plagiarised part or all of an assessed piece of work.



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Guidance for Students

How do I use Turnitin?

  • The University of Kent has introduced Turnitin to assist in the detection and deterrence of plagiarism. You may be required to submit your assessment work to the Turnitin service. This will involve submitting your work electronically via your Moodle module.
  • Your lecturer will give you information on how to use Turnitin and Moodle in your modules.

More help with Moodle and Turnitin

See the Elearning website for detailed guides on using Turnitin in Moodle, including submitting assessments and understanding your Originality Report.

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Academic Integrity, UELT, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NQ

Telephone: +44(0)1227 824016 or contact us

Last Updated: 14/11/2018