A Tool to Improve Academic Writing
The University values academic integrity and has adopted an educative approach to the issue of plagiarism in order to foster ethical scholarship.
One aspect of the educative and preventative strategy is adoption of Turnitin, an electronic text matching system.
What is Turnitin?
Turnitin from iParadigms is a web-based text-matching software that identifies and reports on similarities between documents. It is widely used as a tool to improve academic writing skills.
Turnitin compares electronically submitted papers against the following:
- Current and archived web: Turnitin currently contains over 62 billion web pages including archived pages
- Student papers: over 734 million, including Western Sydney University student submissions since 2007
- Scholarly literature: Turnitin has partnered with leading content publishers, including library databases, text-book publishers, digital reference collections and subscription-based publications (e.g. Gale, Proquest, Emerald and Sage)
How does Turnitin work?
- Students submit papers to Turnitin via vUWS. Note: Turnitin is not used in all units at Western Sydney University and may not be utilised for all assignments within a particular unit.
- The original submission is returned with matching text highlighted and links to the original sources. This is called a Similarity Report.
- More information can found from the Turnitin: Instructional guide for students (PDF).
- Full guide available here.
How does Turnitin improve academic writing?
Good academic writing is a skill that comes with practice and experience. The Similarity Report is useful for editing papers that include excessive use of direct quotes and paraphrases. Academics find the Similarity Reports useful as a tool to guide students in correct citation practices and highlight potential need for greater originality in student work. While this type of software can be used as a detection tool, it can also, more importantly, be used as an educative tool.
Students are encouraged to pre-submit their work to Turnitin and to make revisions on the basis of the Similarity Report before final submission of their work for assessment.
Key benefits for students:
- Encourages students to review and edit their drafts before resubmitting
- Encourages students to evaluate their papers for correct referencing and citation
- Discourages last-minute assignment work. Note: A similarity report will be available within a few minutes after the first submission or 24 hours for second and subsequent submissions.