When it comes to academic writing, originality is key. Plagiarism, whether accidental or intentional, can have serious consequences. A majority of institutions of higher learning use Turnitin for academic submissions and to counter plagiarism. It is therefore crucial that every college student should learn how to navigate this application effectively.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll demystify Turnitin and explore how it works. More importantly, we’ll provide you with tips and tricks to produce A+ papers while staying on the right side of the academic rules.
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Back to Turnitin.
At its core, Turnitin is a text-matching software used by educational institutions worldwide.
Turnitin compares the text within your submitted document to an extensive database comprising electronic and print sources, including books, journals, websites, and even other students’ papers. If Turnitin finds similarities between your work and any of these sources, it raises a flag, usually a coloured bar, indicating potential plagiarism.
How to Access Turnitin as a Student
Accessing Turnitin as a student is a straightforward process, and it’s usually done through your institution’s Learning Management System (LMS), such as Canvas or Moodle. Here are the steps to get you started:
Login to Your LMS: Begin by logging into your college or university’s Learning Management System. If you’re unsure which LMS your institution uses, your instructor will provide some guidance.
Look for Turnitin Integration: Once you’ve logged in, navigate to your course or assignment where Turnitin integration is available. It’s commonly found within the assignment submission section or as a designated Turnitin assignment.
Canvas, Moodle, Microsoft Teams, or Sakai: Depending on your institution’s LMS, you may find Turnitin integration through platforms like Canvas, Moodle, Microsoft Teams, or Sakai. Simply click on the relevant link or icon associated with Turnitin within your course.
Direct Submission Link: In some cases, your instructor may provide you with a direct link to submit your work to Turnitin. If you have such a link, follow the instructions provided by your instructor.
Alternatively, if your institution uses a Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) plugin for Turnitin, you can access it through your LMS. Look for the “External Tool” option, and click on it to access Turnitin.
Decoding the Similarity Score
When you receive your Turnitin report, you’ll come across a similarity score that provides a match overview. This score, which is expressed as a percentage coloured bar, represents the proportion of your assignment’s text that matches content from the Turnitin database and other web sources. It’s colour-coded to help you quickly assess the extent of similarity:
- Blue: No matching text
- Green: 1% to 24% matching text
- Yellow: 25% to 49% matching text
- Orange: 50% to 74% matching text
- Red: 75% to 100% matching text
Understanding this score is crucial because it provides insights into your paper’s originality. Originality of your writing simply depends on proper citation, and you can learn more about professional referencing help from this royalwriter review. You can then click on the similarity score to obtain a match overview showing the different origins of the matched text, as in the image above.
What Constitutes a ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ Similarity Score?
There isn’t a fixed number that categorizes a similarity score as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Your school or teacher may have set specific thresholds for acceptable similarity scores, so it’s crucial to consult your teacher or review your school’s guidelines to determine the acceptable range.
Some level of similarity is generally expected, especially when including source-based evidence, which is often a requirement for assignments. Check with your instructor to know the implications of any type of score.
Using the Turnitin Report to Enhance Your Writing
If you have the opportunity to revise your writing based on the Similarity Score feedback, consider the following strategies:
Selective Quoting: Choose only the most significant quotes from your sources to include in your assignment. This approach minimizes the chance of extensive matches and encourages you to incorporate quoted material thoughtfully.
Summarization and Paraphrasing: Instead of quoting directly, summarize, paraphrase, or explain ideas in your own words. This not only reduces similarity but also demonstrates your understanding of the material.
Proper Citation: Ensure that you cite all your evidence using the appropriate citation style recommended by your institution. Proper citations not only avoid plagiarism but also enhance the credibility of your work.
Remember that the primary goal is to learn from your feedback and continuously improve your writing. You can also consider using other web sources to perfect your skills, for example, by using an essay writer for hire.
A Few Tips to Keep in Mind
Turnitin typically takes around 24 hours to generate a report. To be on the safe side of time, ensure your instructor allows multiple submission attempts. If not, you’ll have only one chance to submit your work.
Submit your assignment at least 48 hours in advance to allow ample time for the report to be generated and for you to review and make any necessary revisions.
Very important to remember is that no magic percentage guarantees your paper is free from plagiarism. Turnitin’s purpose is to highlight text similarities, not to interpret the results. For example, some topics share fundamental concepts and thus the text might be detected as similar. Therefore, always check to see what your instructor’s guidelines are concerning the desired output.
A low Turnitin score doesn’t automatically mean your paper is plagiarism-free. What truly matters is what Turnitin highlights. If it identifies unquoted text or uncited sources, it constitutes plagiarism, even if the similarity percentage is low.
Final Thoughts on Turnitin
Remember, Turnitin is a tool, not a judge. It doesn’t interpret results; that’s you and your instructor’s responsibility. So, if you see a high or low similarity score, that isn’t to suggest that you are in the red or not.
To safeguard your academic integrity, you should master proper referencing and effective paraphrasing. Don’t solely rely on Turnitin. Use tools such as Mendeley and Zotero to accurately cite on the fly. Ultimately, use Turnitin as a tool just like any other to help you master the craft of proper academic writing.