Plagarism Checking

The University of Arkansas has purchased a license for faculty to use turnitin.com for plagiarism checking for graduate student papers. (Please note that our license does not allow us to check papers for undergraduate students.) If a faculty member is interested in opening an account on Turnitin.com, he/she should e-mail Patricia Koski (pkoski@uark.edu) and she will request that access.

Tips for Using Turnitin.com for Plagiarism Checking

Special Note: Per the GSIE policies you may submit a student document to TurnItIn if you wish to check it for plagiarism. However, if you are submitting a document you must first remove all student identification from the document. If a student is submitting his or her own work then the document may be submitted with the student identifiers remaining within the document.

First time faculty:

  1. E-mail me that you wish to be set up in Turnitin. I will add you as an instructor. You will receive an invitation email welcoming you to Turnitin and giving you some links to tutorials.
  2. From the http://www.turnitin.com page, click on “Create Account” at the top right of the screen.
  3. At the bottom of the next page click on “Instructor.”
  4. Enter the information you have received from TurnItIn with your account ID and join password. You then enter your information and hit the “Create Profile” button at the bottom of the page.

Setting up an instructor for departmental monitoring of student academic documents:

  1. Log in to TurnItIn.com at the top of page with your email and password.
  2. Click on the “+ Add Class” button at upper right.
  3. Generally you will use the Standard Class designation for departmental monitoring of theses, dissertations, etc.
  4. Enter an informative class name. It is probably easiest to use a common format for class naming that starts with the departmental four letter designator (MEPH, ELEG, PHYS, etc.)
  5. Create a password for that class.
  6. Select a class end date (e.g. 5/31/2013).
  7. It will show you your class ID.
  8. Click on that class name in your list of classes.
  9. Click on the “+ Add Assignment” button at the upper right.
  10. For departmental monitoring of academic documents such as theses/dissertations, it might be useful to create four assignments: Draft 1, Draft 2, Draft 3, and Final Submission, or some version of this that works for you. Each “student” enrolled in a class can submit one document per day to each of the draft assignments, and you can create more draft assignments in a class if more than three submissions are needed each day.
  11. To create the “Draft 1” assignment, fill in the name and set the due date and post date (e.g. use the end date of the semester for the post date and the day before that for the due date).
  12. Click on the optional settings button.
    1. For draft documents in the special instructions block, put something like “This is a draft document assignment that is used for educational purposes during document creation to assure that no plagiarized material exists in the document. You may submit one document to this draft assignment every 24 hours, with the prior originality report being overwritten with each new submission.”
    2. Keep everything the same except as noted:
      1. Change the “Generate Originality Reports for student submissions” drop down menu from the “first report is final” default to the “can overwrite reports until due date” selection.
      2. Make sure yes is checked to allow students to see Originality Reports.
      3. Check the Student paper repository box under search options.
    3. Press “Submit”
  13. Add the other two drafts using the same instructions.
  14. Add the “Final Submission” class, but change the optional settings as follows:
    1. Special instructions should read something like “This assignment may only be used for one submission, and it must be the final document submitted to meet the academic requirements for your degree completion. This submission will be used to judge whether or not your document contains plagiarism, and cannot be overwritten by a second submission. If you have any questions about any potential plagiarism shown in a draft submission then consult with your departmental reviewer prior to submitting a document to this assignment.”
    2. Change the dropdown menu selection to “immediately first report is final,” then submit.
  15. Click on the All Classes tab to see your class list.
  16. To create a second similar class for the same semester, click on the copy icon for the class you wish to duplicate.
  17. Enter the new class name and new password. All assignments from the original class will be duplicated, and you can then add other assignments or delete unwanted assignments.

Trying out the submission process as a student:

  1. Create a TurnItIn account for yourself as a student (you may want to use your private email address to keep things separated from your instructor login).
  2. Log in on your “student” account.
  3. Select one of your own courses and type in the password.
  4. Submit a paper of yours into one of the draft assignments. You will be able to see the Originality Report as a student (and as the instructor if you set the class up under a different e-mail address).
  5. When the similarity report is returned you will see a percentage number and a colored block next to the title of the document you submitted. Click on the colored box.
  6. It will open a new window, normally in document view format (you will see the paper with original formatting to the left and “match overview” to the right). The default opening method is with accumulative stats for each matched document, but if you click on the upper right icon with four bars it will switch to showing individual paper matches (both methods of viewing matches are useful).
  7. At the bottom right you will see a “text only” button. Some find this the most useful view, as it strips all formatting and allows the quickest scan of the document text using the scroll bar to the right of the primary document’s text.
  8. Clicking on any number in the right window takes you to the first match of that secondary document text in the primary document.
  9. Clicking on any colored text in the primary document will open a new browser window with the primary document in the left pane and the matched document in the right pane. Use the up and down arrows at the top right of the matched document to see how the two documents flow together. NOTE: This is the easiest method to judge if a “cut, paste, and modify” has been done, as even if a paragraph or section has had word substitutions and sentence rearrangement – the flow of the two documents will still be similar.
  10. Click on “close” at the top of the matched document viewing pane to return to the list of matched documents.
  11. Using this method, you can scan a thesis or dissertation in the “show highest matches together” mode in five minutes or less to see if any patterns of matched text show up. If you have any concerns, note what the highest matched documents are and switch to “show matches one at a time” for a detailed side by side look at the two documents using the double viewing panes described in step 9.