Posts Tagged ‘reference page’

Tips for Turnitin: Guest Blogger: Dr. Elmer Hall

Good morning colleagues . . .

TurnItIn Information

TurnItIn is a monster database of content and it checks documents to see how much of documents submitted to it are original. It is a very useful tool to make sure that “literal quotes from other sources are correctly cited” (author, year, p. 9). It checks the document against a massive database of journals, Internet content and past student papers. It is especially useful for finding plagiarism issues, the dishonest act of taking someone else’s work and representing it as your own.

The author always needs to indicate where the facts come from by correctly citing the sources (Author, year). The citation must match the source on the reference page. The key phase that should work to convey the citation issue is “Correctly cite it” (Hall, 2011, p. 9), or completely rewrite it (Hall, 2009).

Students. Students should submit with plenty of time to be able to fix any issues. It usually takes only about 15 minutes to get an originality score, but during end-of-term periods it can take hours. Review the report for issues. Big blocks of a single color are big warning signs. Make sure they are cited correctly, usually with quotes or block quotes. Remember that “literal quotes from another source must be cited and include the specific location of page (or para. # if from an internet source)” (author, 2000, p. 9). A table or appendix that is derived from another source can be cited when it is mentioned in the text or the sources can be properly referenced at the bottom of it. A student who has a draft version of an assignment that he/she wants to replace can do so provided the submission deadline has not passed. (Typically, the professor will allow overwrites and might allow submissions after the deadline.) Don’t resubmit the assignment from a different ID (e-mail address). This will probably result in two versions of your own paper.
Students should be careful not to submit the same assignment more than once to TurnItIn. The act of “repurposing” a prior paper from another class will result in plagiarism against your previous paper. You can quote yourself if you want, or simply rewrite/paraphrase.

Originality score. The originality score starts to get into the red zone, the danger zone, as it gets higher. Some people rewrite everything into their own words and end up with originality scores that are in the single digits, say 5%. This means that 95% of the paper is original and 5% not. This author usually is much more concise and covers the assignment with few words. Still, the author needs to indicate the sources of facts, even if there are no “literal quotes used”. Another writer might have the style of using many quotes from sources. Provided the quotes are done correctly, this is not an issue. However, frequently, lots of quotes, especially for a shorter paper, mean that the author did not take the time to understand the information to the point where rewriting it more concisely was possible.

Demo: [Of the 3 tools, many universities use only the originality checker.]
General use of

TurnItIn for students. Submitting from Moodle.

Enjoy! Thank you Dr. Elmer Hall!

With respect,


Dr. Cheryl Lentz
Chief Refractive Thinker®

RTVol1CoverAward winning author and publisher
The Refractive Thinker® Press, where discriminating scholars publish.
Las Vegas, NV PST:
Join me:


*Join us for our Fall 2011 Publication of the award winning series: The Refractive Thinker: Volume VI: Post Secondary Education. Details may be found here at

August 25th, 2011 by admin