Turnitin is online plagiarism prevention and detection software licensed for unlimited use for faculty at Stern. Turnitin enables faculty or students to submit assignments online and allows faculty to receive originality reports that compare the content to data on the Internet, commercial databases, and previous papers submitted to the system.

Guidelines for Use

Faculty should inform students that they plan to use the Turnitin software. We recommend that faculty insert a statement in the courses Syllabus or post a message in the Assignments area of the courses. Although Turnitin is primarily designed to detect plagiarism, it can also be used as an instructional tool.

Detection Tool

Using Turnitin as a detection tool can save you time searching for the plagiarism source and can provide the faculty with specific information about the nature and extent of the plagiarism. Once papers have been submitted and analyzed, the originality report presents faculty with a similarity index and the URLs to the source sites. The similarity index alone cannot determine plagiarism. Turnitin cannot detect if a student has included the appropriate references for the text that is identified as similar to some other document. A paper with a high similarity rating needs to be examined by the faculty to determine if plagiarism has occurred. The similarity rating can help faculty identify suspicious papers and the similar passages but the instructor or grader will need to further analyze the papers to make an informed judgment.

Instructional Tool

Turnitin can provide the instructor with valuable information about students' understanding of plagiarism and standards for citing work. Many students, especially freshmen, may have very narrow definitions of plagiarism, believing that re-ordering, paraphrasing, or inserting portions of another text into their own is not plagiarism. By examining the originality reports and comparing the student's paper to the source documents, an instructor can get a clearer model of the student's understanding of plagiarism and then provide targeted instruction addressing these shortcomings. The CITL provides further information and articles about academic honesty.

Turnitin Instructions


Have a question about Turnitin?
Request a consultation