How to Use Turnitin Plagiarism Checker: Tips and Tricks
Turnitin is a plagiarism checker that can be used to detect unoriginal content in student papers. To use Turnitin, you will need to create an account and upload your paper to the website. Turnitin will then scan your paper for matches against a database of millions of sources. If Turnitin finds any matches, it will generate a report that lists the sources that were found. You can then review the report to see if there is any unoriginal content in your paper.
Essay writing is a relatively new topic for students, where author copyright is less strictly protected than in other countries.
However, this does not mean that those who engage in plagiarism can freely roam. In the university environment, professors are always strict regarding academic integrity.
Suppose you are working on a project, thesis, scientific report, etc. In that case, you should be cautious when using Turnitin to check for plagiarism to avoid duplication when rechecking for the second or third time.
Update as of April 2023: Turnitin account service registration via email ensures that the articles are not saved in the system. For more details, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Update as of May 2023: Usage limitations, supported file types for checking plagiarism with any Turnitin account, and new content added to the article.
Instructions for using a Turnitin account to check for plagiarism
And of course, in a content-competitive environment like blogs, and websites, Google algorithms will also detect plagiarized content and rank it low in search results.
Whether unintentional or intentional copying, if you specialize in creating content, it’s essential to have an excellent plagiarism-checking tool to avoid fraud. For me, that tool is Turnitin (or Turnitin plagiarism-checking software).
I want to share how to check for plagiarism using Turnitin, which I often use.
Please note that Turnitin usually automatically saves the checked paper in the first check (1st) and marks high similarity when you recheck from the second time onwards. The solution is to set (select) the function “Do not store,” as I will share in the instructions later in this article.
Update as of March 2023: Comparison between Turnitin Student and Turnitin Instructor accounts.
Update as of August 2021: For students working on a thesis/dissertation, be extremely cautious to avoid the following mistake: You often ask someone to check for plagiarism using a different Turnitin account (not your institution’s Turnitin account). However, you may need to be made aware that your paper has been saved in Turnitin’s database after that check.
So when your professors check for plagiarism with the paper you submitted, there will be a high likelihood of similarity. You will have to explain to them or face a deduction in your performance. Using Turnitin for personal use, such as writing content, you can check the same paper multiple times using the “Excluding sources” feature.
Can Turnitin detect text generated by ChatGPT?
Update as of December 2022: In a blog announcement, Turnitin.com stated that the company had developed technology to detect text supported by AI, specifically AI-generated text produced by tools like ChatGPT. This tool, called “Turnitin Originality,” has added new features and is set to launch in 2023. For more details, please see here.
The following instructional article is performed on a Turnitin Instructor account (an account for instructors/teachers). If you use a Turnitin Student account, some settings have been preselected, and you cannot change them.
Step 1: Log in to your Turnitin account
First, access this website: https://www.turnitin.com/
Then log in with your registered Turnitin account.
Step 2: Upload the paper for Turnitin plagiarism check
After logging in, select the “Quick Submit” option.
Scroll down and select the “Submit” button marked as number 2 in the image above. When you choose “Submit” a window will appear asking you about the comparison sources you want, such as articles, internet sources, or students’ essays.
Here, I choose all sources and click “Submit” again.
Immediately after that, you will see a different interface, prompting you to enter your name (or the author of the text) and the title of the document you submit.
Then select the paper you will upload to Turnitin from your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive.
After selecting the Turnitin plagiarism check file, click “Upload” to start the file uploading process to Turnitin.
That’s it for the submission part. The next step in using Turnitin is to check the results.
Step 3: View the Turnitin plagiarism check results
After selecting “Confirm” you need to like “Go to the assignment inbox“.
The Turnitin plagiarism check result will appear after a few seconds (if the paper is short) or longer if the document is lengthy.
As you can see in the image, my paper has a 21% similarity with other texts. To view the details of where and how it is similar, double-click on this 21%. A window will appear as follows:
Here, Turnitin will color-code different lines of text similar to another source. The colors represent the level of plagiarism from high to low. The highest similarity is marked in red, followed by pink, purple, blue, green,…
To view the comparison sources and the similarity percentage for each source, click on the steps I marked in the image below.
You will see a statistical report like this:
As mentioned, text with the highest similarity to other sources is marked in red, with a similarity rate of about 4% compared to the source website, followed by lower rates from other sources.
If you want to download the highlighted text, click the download button and select “Current view” (which means the version you are currently viewing):
The file can be downloaded in PDF format and converted to MS Word for easy editing.
Great! I’m glad the steps for checking for plagiarism are complete. I hope that the instructions for checking plagiarism using Turnitin provided will be a helpful tool for you in your content creation efforts!
Note: Depending on Turnitin’s partner linking system, sometimes you may find that one Turnitin account works while another Turnitin account may not work correctly, for example, a lacking function like “Submit” as shown in the following picture. In the image below, the lack of “Submit” function is due to the system being under maintenance: “Product Maintenance….”
However, the error of the missing “Submit” function is mainly due to using an expired Turnitin account (for Turnitin Instructor) or the teacher has removed the student from the class. Typically, the Class function on the Turnitin account is created by teachers to allow students to participate in uploading assignments for review.
How to delete a submitted paper on Turnitin
If you don’t want Turnitin to store your plagiarism checker document, when you Submit, you can select the following feature (this method will limit, not completely guarantee that your paper will not be archived on Turnitin’s system):
If you want to delete a paper submitted on Turnitin Instructor, follow these steps:
Access the checked content section, tick the checked paper and then select the Delete button. For more details, please refer to the image below:
Most Turnitin Student accounts cannot delete submitted papers. In this case, the deletion must be done through the support system or by the teacher.
Turnitin Student and Turnitin Instructor
The plagiarism checking results for the Turnitin Student and Turnitin Instructor accounts are the same.
The only difference between Turnitin Instructor and Turnitin Student accounts is in the management section. When using a Turnitin Instructor account, you can create a separate class so each student/user can access their own class or create a shared class inviting multiple users to join.
To join this class, students/users need a class ID and a key (registration code). The plagiarism checking results for the two accounts are not different.
One more note: when using a Turnitin Instructor account, you need to set it up not to save papers on the system, as I shared at the beginning of this article. If you forget to set up this feature, any papers you check in the future will be marked as highly similar.
Therefore, you can use Turnitin Instructor if you have experience using it. In the usual case, you can use Turnitin Student (with the requirement that the account has been set up to not save papers on the system before, in the section of creating classes on Turnitin Instructor).
When using Turnitin Student, you only need to upload the document to Turnitin and wait for the result. You don’t need to worry about any other setup operations.
Turnitin Student is much easier to use for new users, and the steps are very simple.
How to create a Turnitin Student account
1. Access Turnitin.com, then select as shown in the picture:
Create a Turnitin Student account
Create a Turnitin account using your email.
Other details such as your email address and name are registered as with other accounts.
After checking your email to activate your account, access it and select Submit to start uploading your plagiarism checking document. After uploading, wait for Turnitin to provide the result. (The following steps are similar to what I shared in the previous section of the article).
While waiting, you can turn off your computer or do other work and then return to download the plagiarism checking result.
Turnitin.com account limitations
Turnitin requires a document uploaded to be checked for plagiarism to:
- Have a file size of less than 100 MB
- Have a minimum of 20 words
- Have a maximum length of 800 pages (except for files in .xls/.xlsx and .csv formats, where the length must be smaller than 450 pages)
Guide on how to use Turnitin to check for plagiarism multiple times for the same document
(Can I check my document for plagiarism multiple times)
Usually users who are checking for plagiarism for the first time or using plagiarism checking services sometimes encounter difficulties when they need to check for plagiarism multiple times for the same document.
The situation users often encounter is:
- Checking for plagiarism for the first time on Turnitin.
- Making changes to the parts that are similar and continuing to check for plagiarism on Turnitin: at this point, Turnitin notifies you that the plagiarism percentage is very high, possibly over 90%. The reason is that the information from the previous document you submitted has been saved on Turnitin’s system. Therefore, when you check for plagiarism for the second time, Turnitin will compare it to your previous document and mark it as highly similar.
- Solution: use the exclude function on your account or select “Do not store the paper in repository” before uploading for checking.
- For users checking for plagiarism for the first time, select “Do not store the paper in repository” on the plagiarism checking submission interface the first time (if using Turnitin Instructor) or use a Turnitin Student account that has been set up with the “Do not store the paper in repository” function.
Currently, I am sharing a Turnitin Student account package (with a fee) that you can register with your email and comes with pre-set configurations to ensure that you can check for plagiarism multiple times for the same document without being marked as a duplicate.
Detailed instructions on how to use Turnitin to check for plagiarism multiple times on the same document.
For the first check, you should follow these steps:
If you have checked the document in multiple places with different Turnitin accounts (remember that Turnitin only provides reports to educational institutions, not individuals), you need to:
- Remember the source where you checked Turnitin: for example, if you fit the document with a Turnitin account at School A and then continue to check it at School B, you need to remember the school name (clearly displayed on the Turnitin account).
- Once you have a list of the institutions (schools) where you have previously checked for plagiarism, use the exclude function to exclude duplicate sources as follows:
Can Turnitin be used for free?
As I shared in the FAQs below, Turnitin is a service for organizations, so individual users cannot purchase Turnitin accounts. Currently, some educational institutions in Vietnam and abroad provide free Turnitin Student accounts to their students with limited document checks.
If you have friends at such educational institutions, you can “borrow” or seek assistance from the school’s teachers.
Frequently Asked Questions when using a Turnitin Account to check for Plagiarism
IS TURNITIN ACCURATE IN DETECTING PLAGIARISM?
The accuracy level depends on Turnitin’s available database and the nature of your document. Turnitin is suitable when checking for plagiarism in academic and educational texts. Additionally, you can use Turnitin to check for plagiarism in any other type of document.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE PLAGIARISM CHECK RESULTS FROM TURNITIN?
The time to receive plagiarism check results from Turnitin depends on the nature and length of your document. On average, it takes about 5 minutes for a 5-page A4 document. However, if your document is over 100 pages, contains complex information, and includes image annotations, the checking time can take several hours or half a day.
DOES TURNITIN STORE MY DOCUMENTS?
Yes. Turnitin states that even if you delete a document from your account, your checked copy will still be stored in Turnitin’s database. This storage does not affect your privacy rights.
CAN I USE TURNITIN TO CHECK FOR PLAGIARISM MULTIPLE TIMES ON THE SAME DOCUMENT?
If you have checked a document for plagiarism and then made edits or revisions before conducting a second (or third) plagiarism check on the same record, you need to be aware of the following: use the “Do not store” or “Exclude” function on Turnitin.
NOTES WHEN CHECKING FOR PLAGIARISM MULTIPLE TIMES ON THE SAME DOCUMENT
Always select the “Do not store” option on the first check, or ensure that the Turnitin account you use to check for plagiarism has this feature set up beforehand.
CAN I PURCHASE A TURNITIN ACCOUNT?
Turnitin does not provide paid account packages for individual users. This means that you cannot directly purchase a Turnitin account from the provider’s website; you can only seek assistance from institutions affiliated with Turnitin. If you need to buy a plagiarism checking account similar to Turnitin, consider using the iThenticate service (recommended by Turnitin itself).
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