Turnitin is a plagiarism prevention and originality checking service which also allows for online grading and peer reviews. Turnitin compares a submission's text to a vast database of 45+ billion pages of digital content (including archived Internet content that is no longer available), over 337 million submissions in the student archive, and 130,000+ professional, academic and commercial journals and publications.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to use Turnitin?

All current UAH faculty, staff and students.

Are student papers kept confidential?

Yes, the UAH license with Turnitin specifies a privacy pledge in accordance with FERPA: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Papers submitted to Turnitin are not available outside of the Turnitin database.

How does Turnitin work?

Turnitin breaks up text into fragments and matches it against web sites, previously submitted papers and online journals and databases. If Turnitin finds matching text online, it records the urls of those web pages and calculates an "originality" score based on how much of the submitted paper was found online. The scoring does not take into account passages they have been properly cited, but the originality score can be adjusted to ignore properly cited passages.

What are the advantages of Turnitin?

Faculty can use Turnitin to make the process of detecting plagiarism easier and more efficient. Students can use Turnitin to check their own papers to see if they have properly cited sources. Turnitin provides tools for grading papers online and for allowing students to learn by reviewing other students' papers. In addition, Turnitin provides students and faculty with a variety of educational resources on preventing and avoiding plagiarism, writing research papers, and citing sources.

How long does it take for Turnitin to check an uploaded paper?

Turnitin will check a paper against the web and generate an originality report in an hour or less. During mid-term or at the end of the semester the Turnitin site may be a bit slow. If you experience problems at these times, please wait and try again later.

Is a paper that receives a high similarity rating necessarily plagiarized?

No. A high similarity rating does not mean that a student has plagiarized; it only indicates that the faculty member should review the paper closely. If a student includes many properly cited references in one paper, it would show a high similarity rating; passages that are properly cited can be removed from the originality scoring. In addition, if the student has previously submitted the paper to Turnitin prior to the final submission, it would show a high similarity rating

What is plagiarism?

According to the UAH Code of Student Conduct (in the UAH Student Handbook), plagiarism can be defined as "the use of any other person's work (such work need not be copyrighted) and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one's own work offered in fulfillment of academic requirements." In other words, plagiarism is the use of another's original words or ideas as if they were your own.

What are the consequences of plagiarism for UAH students?

Plagiarism is an act of academic dishonesty, which threatens the academic integrity of UAH. If a faculty member suspects a student of plagiarism, he or she can choose to deal with the student within the context of the course, by requiring a revision, giving the student a failing grade, or several other disciplinary options. The faculty member can choose to file a complaint with the Office of Student Conduct, which can result in a hearing by the Student Conduct Board. If the student is found guilty of plagiarism, the Board can choose from a variety of sanctions, including issuing a warning, a censure, educational alternatives, disciplinary probation, disciplinary suspension, and expulsion.

As a student, how can I learn more about plagiarism?

If a student has any questions about plagiarism or citing sources, he or she should not hesitate to talk to a faculty member, the library staff, or visit the Student Success Center. See also the UAH library guide on plagiarism, the Purdue Online Writing Lab on avoiding plagiarism, and Plagiarism.org.

If I submit a paper for one class and then submit the same paper again for another class, is this plagiarism?

This is not plagiarism, but it is recycling work, which some instructors may not allow. Check with your instructor.

Setting Up TurnItIn (Instructors)

To setup a Turnitin account, contact Jack Drost drostj@uah.edu or Belinda Ong ongb@uah.edu. If you use Turnitin with your classes, you must also include the following statement with your syllabus:

UAH is committed to the fundamental values of preserving academic honesty as defined in the Student Handbook (7.1). The instructor reserves the right to utilize electronic means to help prevent plagiarism. Students agree that by taking this course all assignments are subject to submission for textual similarity review toTurnitin.com. Assignments submitted to Turnitin.com will be included as source documents in Turnitin.com's restricted access database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents.

Turnitin Features

OriginalityCheck - originality checking and plagiarism prevention

What is OriginalityCheck?

Students self submit papers into the Turnitin service for comparison against existing sources on the web and against a database of papers previously submitted to Turnitin. Each submitted paper receives an "Originality Report" which provides instructors with insight into any similarities that may appear between student written work and existing source material. The paper receives an "Overall Similarity Index" (OSI) score, represented as a percentage, that indicates what percent of the total paper is comprised of similar content. Using the OSI score and a copy of the student paper (presented in its original form—retaining all original layout and images), instructors can review the paper for instances of improper citation or plagiarism. Instructors also have the option of allowing students to check their papers themselves, providing an educational opportunity for teaching citation of sources.

GradeMark - feedback and student assessment tools

What is GradeMark?

"Drag and drop" commenting tools and access to grammar, spelling, and writing mechanics checking services allows instructors to mark and comment on students' papers online. Instructors can also access, build, and upload writing rubrics for evaluating written work. GradeMark automatically calculates paper grades based on rubric criterion scores that instructors input. In addition, GradeMark offers instructors the ability to leave voice comments as feedback on students' work. With GradeMark, instructors have the added benefit of accessing all of their students' papers online, eliminating the need for paper copies. When used with the Angel dropbox, grading done in GradeMark automatically transfers into the Angel gradebook for the course.

PeerMark - online student peer reviews

What is PeerMark?

PeerMark promotes collaborative learning by allowing students to review each other's written work online This facilitates development of an understanding of writing for an audience as well as practice in the iterative process of writing.