In our first blog "Does Turnitin Detect Plagiarism?” we said that Turnitin does not detect plagiarism but, rather, generates a similarity index indicating text matches to the Turnitin databases. Instructors and their students can use that information to determine if there are issues with intentional or unintentional plagiarism. So, while Turnitin does not specifically "detect" plagiarism, instructors can work towards plagiarism proofing their written assignments by implementing Turnitin in their courses using some well-documented best practices.
Research suggests that assignments can be made more difficult to plagiarize if instructors:
Reality: Turnitin receives over 200,000 papers daily, and no human reads the papers at Turnitin. All papers are processed by our software, servers and databases.
Misconception 14: Turnitin automatically evaluates and grades papers . . . eliminating the need for instructors to grade them.
Reality: Turnitin matches text similarity and does not grade papers for the instructors. It is up to the instructor and/or student to determine whether the assignment exhibits plagiarism.
Misconception 13: Turnitin has expertise in plagiarism and can render judgment on specific cases.
Reality: There is no "threshold" Similarity Index that is either "good" or "bad"--each Originality Report needs to be examined to understand what a student did and whether or not there is a problem.
Lots of people have impressions about Turnitin - what it is, what it does, how it works. Unfortunately, many of these impressions are based on misconceptions. So to kick off our new blog, we’ll tackle the #1 misconception: that Turnitin detects plagiarism.
But isn't that what Turnitin is - a plagiarism detector? No, Turnitin does not detect plagiarism per se; Turnitin just finds text that matches other sources in the vast Turnitin databases and shows those matches. It is up to a human being to determine whether those text matches are a problem or not.