Originality and plagiarism

Teachers can use Turnitin, in the electronic learning environment, to quickly and efficiently check if students’ work is original and if they cite and reference the sources properly.

How to use Turnitin to detect originality

Turnitin is a tool in the electronic learning environment of Wageningen University. It provides an originality check by comparing submitted papers to those saved in repositories used by Turnitin. As soon as a student assignment becomes available in Turnitin, an originality check is performed automatically and matching or highly similar text will be discovered.

How does it work?

Students must submit their work as a Turnitin assignment through a course in the electronic learning environment (ELO). Teachers have access to the outcome of the originality check, which is called ‘the Similarity Report’, as soon as the assignment has been uploaded.

WUR Library can help you to interpret the results of the originality check. If you need help, please contact the Library servicedesk to make an appointment with one of our information specialists.

No course available in the ELO?

If you as a teacher don’t have a course in the ELO and it is not an option to create one (for example a thesis course), teachers can send the students’ assignment to the Library servicedesk. The teacher will get the Similarity Report from the Library.

The Similarity Report

After the originality check by Turnitin, a Similarity Report is provided. The similarity score in this report is the percentage of the document’s content that matches the content of the Turnitin repositories. The Report also indicates which parts of the text match the repositories’ content.

Be careful when you interpret the Similarity Report and always check the similarity score in relation to the sources of the match. There is no “magic score” that indicates plagiarism. If you have a similarity score of 53% and the source of the similarity is 53 times one word which occurs all over the assignment, a score of 53% is not too bad. Also, when the document contains the assignment’s instructions, the similarity score will be high because all students will have this part included in the document. But if the match turns out to be a complete paragraph which was copied from another paper, 53% is too high and plagiarism has occurred. Click here to find out how to interpret the Similarity Report (information provided by Turnitin).