What is it??

Turnitin is a tool to improve writing and to prevent plagiarism.

When you submit a paper to Turnitin, you will get an Originality Report which is color coded.


Blue means that no words in your paper or assignment matches something already in theTurnitin database.

Green means that one matching word - 24% of your paper or assignment matches something already in the Turnitin database.

Yellow means that 25% - 49% of your paper or assignment matches something already in theTurnitin database.

Orange means that 50% - 74% of your paper or assignment matches something already in theTurnitin database.

Red means that 75% - 100% of your paper or assignment matches something already in theTurnitin database.


Turnitin does not detect plagiarism, but finds text matches in the Turnitin databases and shows those matches.

It is up to you to determine whether those text matches are a problem or not. 

The report must be interpreted for you to know if your paper needs to be revised. 


There are two things to look for (and what I will be looking for when grading your papers):

1.  Copy and paste phrases/sentences

The report will show you matches between your paper and other sources.  There is no hard and fast rule, but if you have more than 4 words in a row that match with another source, that phrase is suspect and may need to be revised.

2.  Excessive direct quotations

It is tempting to review applicable literature and to find phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs that describe perfectly what your content should be.  Why not just use that content as a direct quote?  Because it is not your content and your papers should be written by you and not others.  Here are some reasons to use a direct quote:

  • to show that an authority supports your point
  • to present a position or argument to critique or comment on; that is, you are going to analyze the statement itself
  • to include especially moving or historically significant language or when the wording is particularly unique
  • to present a particularly well-stated passage whose meaning would be lost or changed if paraphrased or summarized
  • when the person who said it is the one you are studying

Before using a direct quote, check to see if it fits one of these reasons.  If not, do not use a direct quote.

Note:  If it is someone else's idea, even if you do not quote directly, you must still cite it.



In order to post your paper to the site, you will need to create a profile and join the appropriate class. 

The class ID and Enrollment Password will be listed on the course outline.

The Turnitin login page is here:  http://www.turnitin.com/login_page.asp 

Click to create a user profile.  Create a new account and choose "Student."

If you already have an account, just log in to your account and look for the button that says "enroll in a class."

How to submit your paper:

  1. Click on the class name

  2. Click on the Submit button to the right of the assignment name (paper)

  3. Select the “single file upload” from the “choose a paper submission method” menu

  4. Enter your name for “submission title”

  5. Click browse to find the file on your computer

  6. Find the file on your computer and click open

  7. Click  upload

  8. Click submit to finalize the submission

If you need additional instructions, follow these links - they have a training center and a help center

In a few minutes, you will get an originality report.

Here are some acceptable matches that you may disregard:

  • titles 

  • entries in your reference page

  • direct quotes (only if they pass the test above)

  • common phrases (if they are informal expressions, leave them out)

Then what????

Before you submit your paper to Canvas, revise it if necessary.

  • Change any sentence that contains phrases that matched the database (other than the 4 criteria of acceptable matches above)

  • Take out unnecessary direct quotes and write your own content (still citing when appropriate)

This will make you a better writer, which is the whole point of requiring you to use Turnitin!!


Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson