What is Turnitin?

You may have heard about Turnitin from your lecturers or other students. Turnitin is software the University uses to help you develop good academic practice.

You might be asked to submit an assessment through Turnitin. When you do this, Turnitin checks your work against a large database of sources (textbooks, websites, other essays) to assess how similar your work is to information already written by others.

From this information, Turnitin will produce what is known as an ‘originality report’ with a similarity index.

This report can be a helpful guide to you – it might highlight a quote you have used without referencing or a paragraph where you have borrowed heavily from a source without citing it appropriately.

You may be given the chance to submit your work in advance, review the outcome, and improve your referencing before submitting the final version. Note that your School may also ask you to submit an assignment to Turnitin after the submission deadline if there are concerns about possible plagiarism in the essay.

It is essential that you realise that there is no best number for the similarity score. An essay with a low similarity score might still be judged as plagiarised if all of the similar material is in one block, plagiarised from an unreferenced (or incorrectly referenced) source.

It’s important to remember that Turnitin is only a basic tool for assessing the similarity of your work to other people’s. Following submission your lecturer will review your coursework, the Turnitin Originality Report and use their experience and judgement to review your coursework content and your academic practice.

What you'll see when you use Turnitin

  • You may or may not get the chance to submit a practice submission (a draft) to help you get feedback from Turnitin and improve your writing - this is up to the staff on your course
  • You MUST accept the EULA (End User Licence Agreement). If you don't, Moodle will allow you to upload your work, but it will not send it to Turnitin.
  • If your lecturers have allowed you to submit multiple drafts, you must remember to also submit once to the final submission area before the deadline. Anything submitted to the area for drafts is unlikely to be marked. 
  • Draft submission areas do not have a 'Submit' button, but final submissions do. You will find this at the bottom of the page. 

If you have any questions about Turnitin requirements for your specific assignment, contact your lecturers first. They are responsible for setting up each Turnitin block in Moodle and will know more about your assignment than anyone else.

You can also find general instructions on using Turnitin in the knowledge base at www.gla.ac.uk/helpdesk - just search for 'Turnitin'.