Turnitin is a tool for practising scientific writing. In practice, it is a submission box where an originality report is generated from the submitted text and through which a teacher can give feedback on the submission using assessment tools.
What is Turnitin needed for?
Scientific writing is practised during studies, particularly when writing the thesis, but also in course assignments.
Scientific writing involves several skills such as seeking and reading previous studies, thinking that evolves into understanding, and formulating your understanding in writing. A reader should be able to follow what you have understood and what sources you have utilised. A reader should also be able to find the original source to check its content and corroborate your work.
The idea of scientific writing with references and source information is to establish that you are not reinventing the wheel, but showing your own contribution in relation to what is already known.
The fundamental requirement for writing your thesis and for scientific writing in general is that you write your work in your own words and give credit to the authors of the sources you have utilized. Besides being a skill, this requirement is also an ethical principle. This same ethical principle applies to working life as well. Disregarding this principle means, for example, unacknowledged borrowing or plagiarism. Because plagiarism is not accepted in any academic work – be it assignments or thesis work – that is graded, practising and ensuring beforehand that your work follows good academic writing practices is a good idea. This is where Turnitin helps.
The Aalto code of academic integrity outlines how Turnitin can be used in order to help students in an appropriate way: our aim is to prevent plagiarism, not to detect it. The procedure followed in the event that a student disregards the ethical code of academic writing is also described.
Read Plagiarism and the responsibilities and rights of Turnitin users for details.
Where and how is Turnitin available?
Turnitin is available in MyCourses. When a teacher asks you to submit a course assignment or a thesis draft into a submission box marked with a Turnitin logo you use Turnitin. A Turnitin originality check report is generated automatically after a submission. Texts of the submission are compared with digital sources, and the similarities found are highlighted in the text. The overall similarity percentage marked in the report by itself does not mean anything; the similarities must be interpreted in the context of the text from academic writing point of view.
A teacher can give you feedback on your work using the Turnitin assessment tools as well as a grade if the work is the final version.
The Aalto code of academic integrity recommends that a teacher gives students the possibility to check their drafts before the final submission.
If a teacher does not provide a submission box that uses Turnitin but you would like to make a Turnitin originality check of your work before submitting it, you can get the similarity report in the workspace in MyCourses (mycourses.aalto.fi) (search for “independent Turnitin originality check” in MyCourses).
See the detailed instructions for students (wiki.aalto.fi) for using the Turnitin submission box, interpreting the originality report, viewing the teacher’s feedback and tips for scientific writing.