Guidelines for the Use of Turnitin at Western Sydney University

Student Academic Misconduct includes a range of behaviour including plagiarism.  The University is committed to helping students understand academic writing conventions, and therefore avoid inadvertent instances of plagiarism.  One aspect of the educative and preventative strategies adopted is the introduction of Turnitin, an electronic text matching system. 

The University has adopted an educative approach to the issue of plagiarism, wishing to foster ethical scholarship across the University and learning and research which contributes to a culture of learning informed by values of integrity and academic honesty.

The University is committed to a fair and equitable approach to managing potential instances of plagiarism.  It is expected that Schools and Colleges will adopt relevant policy, procedures and guidelines provided by the University, and avail themselves of available resources.

Conscientious evaluation of students’ work and identification of cases of possible plagiarism is also expected. Awareness of the causes of inadvertent plagiarism is important, as is the provision of education and assistance in such cases.  

For commencing students, information should be provided that includes:

  • presentation of the University’s policies and procedures regarding plagiarism and the penalties for academic misconduct.
  • definitions of plagiarism and collusion, instructions in the appropriate academic conventions in fields of study, and how plagiarism might be avoided.
  • examples of referencing.

All continuing students should be reminded at the beginning of each teaching session of the requirements of good scholarly practice and academic integrity.

It is important to be aware of the various strategies available for staff to assist students to avoid plagiarism.

  • Encourage discussion. Discuss the importance of maintaining academic integrity, what constitutes plagiarism and the benefits of avoiding plagiarism.
  • Provide and discuss proper citing techniques and the difference between appropriate, referenced use of ideas using quotation marks and a citation and inappropriate use such as copying without acknowledgement.
  • Be aware of options for course delivery such as varying assessment tasks in subsequent teaching periods; structure assessment tasks to minimise plagiarism and collusion by setting tasks that require interpretation application and analysis.
  • Make the penalties and the consequences of submitting plagiarised material clear.

If you are using Turnitin within a unit, you must ensure that:

  • there is full disclosure of the use of this software to all students in the unit. All students are to be fully informed about the use of electronic text matching software and the manner of its use.
  • all students are required to sign the approved Assignment Cover Sheet which includes a declaration that the submission is their own work and that all references to other material have been acknowledged.  The declaration also permits their work to be subjected to checking for plagiarism.
    Note: If Turnitin is being used as the single submission process disclaimer information is available from the Turnitin submission page.
  • Upon detection of non-original work via the software and qualitative professional evaluation, the responsible academic will inform the student that their assessable work must be original, provide the student with information on how to avoid plagiarism and may require that the work be resubmitted.
  • Action on student plagiarism is in full alignment with the Student Misconduct Rule. Output from Turnitin is available as evidence only, and not as a singular determinant in the judgment at any academic misconduct hearing.

Further information