TurnItIn is an online plagiarism detection tool that is used by instructors and tutors to check and grade the originality of essays submitted by students. Sometimes, tutors use TurnItIn to show their students how to quote and paraphrase information in their essays. TurnItIn is developed and operated by TurnItIn.com, Inc.

Defining Plagiarism

Students are required by their tutors, and the academic fraternity in general, to compose and submit unique and original essays that can be used to gauge their level of academic development. However, there are instances where some students copy content from published authors, and submit it without proper citation or attribution, thereby giving the impression that such copied content is their own original idea. This is plagiarism, and it is one of the most offensive act of academic dishonesty that not only ruins the reputation of the learning institution but can also lead to revocation of academic certificates from graduates. It is for this reason that an online plagiarism checker like TurnItIn is used to authenticate the originality of the essay composed by a student.

How it works

TurnItIn.com uses a web-based plagiarism software. A plagiarism software is a computer program specifically built and designed to detect acts of plagiarism. Its mode of operation is described below.

In a nutshell, the plagiarism software in TurnItIn.com works by comparing the essay submitted by a student to information contained in its database. Its database contains hundreds of thousands of pages. The comparison allows the software to identify identical text in the essay that matches text contained in its database. This means that a section of text in the essay was copied from the matching text from a document that has already been published. In fact, it can highlight the identical text and even provide a hyperlink to the work where the text was copied from. This action constitutes plagiarism detection. I also recommend an Edusson Help Guides service for writing a unique essay.

The plagiarism software use algorithms to perform the comparison.

An algorithm is a set of rule that specifies how a procedure is to be done, and in this case, the algorithm provides specific rules that govern how the comparison process and plagiarism detection is to be done. The algorithms used in TurnItIn.com works as follows.

First, it breaks downs the essay into strings of words. It does this by breaking down the essay into its individual sentences, and using each sentence as the strings of words which is then used as a search term.

The search term is used in the same way as any individual using a search engine uses a search term. When using a search engine, the search term is typed into the search box, and the search engine will provide a set of results that contain that search term. In this instance, TurnItIn uses the search term to look for any text in its indexed database that contains that search term. If any is found, then it is recognized as an identical text, and it shows that the essays were sourced from the document containing that unique identical text. This act of plagiarism is then highlighted in the essay, hence allowing for further scrutiny.

Even so, TurnItIn cannot detect plagiarism of ideas. As mentioned, plagiarism software works by comparing texts. This means that if a student understands the idea conveyed by an author, and then rewords that idea in the essay without any citation or attribution, then TurnItIn.com cannot detect this as an act of plagiarism.

This article was prepared by Betsy Coul, she is a famous writer on SEO themes.