Introduction to Turnitin

Turnitin is a plagiarism detection and deterrent application that is available to all instructors within WebCampus Assignments. When students post written work to a Turnitin Assignment, the application generates a Similarity Report which instructors can use to identify plagiarism. In addition, the tool can be used to discourage plagiarism as well as guide student learning on academic integrity and how to avoid plagiarism.

The Similarity Report

The Similarity Report compares the text of a students submission to targets selected for the assignment, which “includes billions of web pages: both current and archived content from the internet, a repository of works students have submitted to Turnitin in the past, and a collection of documents, which comprises thousands of periodicals, journals, and publications (

The overall Similarity Score is the percentage of a submissions content that matches Turnitins databases and Internet searches. Any matching or highly similar text discovered is detailed in the Similarity Report, along with information about the matching source.


The Similarity Report

  • does not automatically detect and report plagiarism. Ultimately it is up to the instructor and students to interpret the meaning of the Similarity Report.
  • may not scan every site on the Internet or identify contract cheating. In other words, a clean Similarity Report does not necessarily guarantee the submission is the students original work.
  • does not flag essays that include plagiarized ideas or concepts, nor can it detect paraphrasing that dramatically changes the wording of an original source while maintaining that sources organization.
  • will not always distinguish between properly and improperly cited work. Students who are quoting correctly might have reports that indicate a high level of overlap with their sources. However, while reviewing the Similarity Report, you can exclude quoted or bibliographic materials.