Your lecturers have the option of using a system for online submission called Turnitin which checks submitted work for signs of plagiarism against a number of sources. These include (but are not limited to) previously submitted work by other students using the Turnitin system worldwide, a current and archived copy of the publicly accessible Internet and pages from books, newspapers and journals.
You can check your own work before submitting it as a final assessment in a module by uploading it first to the Turnitin assignment on the Check Your Work for Plagiarism organisation (accessible from the Home tab on Blackboard). The organisation also has more information about Turnitin, plagiarism and referencing.
Viewing the Assignment
- Your lecturer should inform you that there is a new assignment for you to complete. They might tell you in class or by sending an announcement via Blackboard, so it’s a good idea to check these often. Most modules on Blackboard will have a content area on the menu (left-hand side of the screen) called Assessment where lecturers can create assignments. This might vary from one module to another; it may be called Assignments or Assessment & Feedback, for example. If you can’t find the assignment then you should ask your lecturer where it is located.
- Once you’re inside the right area you should see a list of assignments available to you. There may be more than one and they may have similar titles so make sure you choose the right one to complete. Turnitin assignments have a different icon to normal electronic assignments on Blackboard.
- Once you’ve found the correct Turnitin assignment, click the View/Complete link to go to the Assignment Inbox. This page has information about the assignment. Make sure you’re aware of the Due Date shown in the Dates column. Click the blue information icon in the Info column to see details such as instructions or if your lecturer has allowed late submission for this assignment. Some lecturers may also choose to create a rubric for the assignment which can be used for marking and assessing your performance on this assignment. You can click the grid icon to view the rubric.
You should now have all the information you need to complete your assignment, when you’re ready to submit your work, carry on to the next section.
Submitting an Assignment
- To upload your assignment to Turnitin, navigate to the assignment following the steps described earlier and then click the Submit button on the right-hand side of the page.
- On the Submit page, the Single File Upload option should be selected. Turnitin accepts uploads in the following formats: Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx), Word Perfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF and Plain text. You can also copy and paste text by clicking on Single File Upload and choosing the Cut & Paste Upload.
- The First name and Last name fields should already be populated with your details.
- Enter a title for your work in the Submission title field.
- Now choose the file you want to upload. You can either select a file from your computer or select a file from either your Dropbox or Google Drive accounts.
- Click Upload.
- You will be taken to a confirmation page which provides a summary of the file you have selected and a preview of the document. Click Confirm to complete your upload if all of the information is correct.
- If the submission is successful, you will receive a digital receipt as confirmation. You will also receive an email as proof of receipt.
If you want to view the digital receipt at any time, you can open your submission from the Turnitin Assignment Inbox, click on the View button and then click on the information icon at the bottom left of the page within the document viewer. This will display your submission details.
Viewing Originality Reports
Depending on if your lecturer has enabled it you may be able to view the originality report for your submission. Once you have uploaded a document it is checked for matches against other documents in the Turnitin repository and a report is created. To access the report:
- Follow steps 1-3 of the Viewing the Assignment section of this guide to return to the Assignment Inbox.
- In the Similarity column, a percentage will be displayed with a coloured icon. This denotes how similar your submitted document was to other sources such as books, journals, web sites and other documents submitted to Turnitin. Clicking on the percentage will open the full report; the amount of matching text and details about the sources will be displayed. From this report you can often spot mistakes made in citing references which can then be corrected before submitting your final piece of work.
|No matching words||1 word – 24% matching text||25% – 49% matching text||50% – 74% matching text||75% – 100% matching text|
Practically all submissions will have some similarity due to common phrases used. Also, due to the system being automated it may match pieces of quoted text or items listed in your bibliography, so don’t worry too much if the results are not what you expected.
These indices do not reflect Turnitin’s assessment of whether a paper has or has not been plagiarised. Originality Reports are simply tools to help you find sources that contain text similar to submitted work. The decision to deem any work plagiarised must be made carefully, and only after careful examination of both the submitted work and the suspect sources.
An example of plagiarism detection showing words being changed throughout the paragraph but the original source is still identifiable.