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Curtin University
Academic Integrity

Student Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism

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Student Checklist to Prevent Plagiarism

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Staff Guidelines for Dealing with Student Plagiarism

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Flowchart for Staff Actions

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What is Turnitin?

Contrary to popular belief Turnitin is NOT a plagiarism detection system. Turnitin is an text matching system only and does not evaluate the inclusion or accuracy of citations and references.

Turnitin is an electronic text matching system that compares text in a student assignment against a database of sources. The database contains copies of electronic text on the Internet, in published works, on commercial databases, and in assignments previously submitted to Turnitin by students in universities all over the world, including assignments obtained from internet sites that sell student papers.

Turnitin provides an Originality Report in which 'matched' text is underlined, colour coded, and linked to either the original source or a similar document on its database. The report also provides an indication of the proportion of the submitted work that matches other sources, this is the Similarity Index. It is important to be aware that Curtin does NOT define a 'safe' level for the Similarity Index nor is there a level that signals that plagiarism has occurred. The evaluation of plagiarism is an academic process that takes into account the evidence within the context of the specific assignment.

Why is Turnitin being used at Curtin?

Currently, Curtin degrees have prestige with employers and the wider community but this can be threatened by breaches of academic integrity (including plagiarism). Academic integrity is essential to the operation and reputation of Curtin courses.

Turnitin provides a means of strengthening the implementation of the University's policy on academic integrity. Turnitin is one of many resources that can help ensure that academic integrity is maintained. Teaching staff have multiple ways of detecting plagiarism and are normally very familiar with the academic reference sources within their discipline. Turnitin quickly identifies the source of matching text and this assists in the decision making process, thereby helping support the maintenance of fair assessment standards for all students.

Turnitin also has many positive benefits as a teaching and learning tool for students. In some instances (particularly in first or second year units) students may have the opportunity to submit a draft version of their assignment in order to generate an originality report. This report will highlight text that matches closely to another source and this may indicate that the student needs to work on their writing or referencing skills. The student may then choose to seek assistance to improve their assignment before submitting it for marking.

Further information

For further information on the use of Turnitin at Curtin please contact the Assessment Centre.