Your instructor may ask you to submit your assignment through Turnitin®. Turnitin® is a text matching tool that works by comparing your written assignment with a database of web pages, academic books and articles, as well as other students’ papers. After comparing your assignment to the database, Turnitin® generates a similarity report for your submission. The similarity report (displayed as a percentage %) indicates how much of your writing matches writing from previously existing sources. The report highlights all phrases that match the text in an existing source and provides links to those sources.
How is Turnitin® used at University of Waterloo?
If your instructor is using Turnitin®, they must include the following statement on your course outline:
Turnitin.com: Text matching software may be used to screen assignments in this course. Turnitin® is used to verify that all materials and sources in assignments are documented. Students’ submissions are stored on a U.S. server, therefore students must be given an alternative (e.g., scaffolded assignment or annotated bibliography), if they are concerned about their privacy and/or security. Students will be given due notice, in the first week of the term and/or at the time assignment details are provided, about arrangements and alternatives for the use of Turnitin in this course.
Submitted files are housed on the Turnitin® server based in California, and these files are subject to the USA PATRIOT ACT, 2001. Therefore, if you have concerns about your privacy and or security, you may opt out of using this software and choose another alternative with your instructor. If you do not wish to use this software, please contact your instructor as soon as possible, and discuss an alternative within the first week of the term.
In addition to residing on the U.S. server, files are kept on a local D2L server, and your submissions are added to a private pool of UWaterloo documents, but they are not accessible to others as part the general Turnitin database.
How do I interpret the Similarity Report?
Once your submission has been scanned and compared to the Turnitin® databases, a similarity report will appear in the dropbox. Click on the coloured square beside the percentage to access the report.
The similarity report is a measure of the similarity between your work and work found on websites, electronic journals and others’ work that has been stored on the UWaterloo’s Turnitin® database. In other words, the percentage displayed shows how much of the submission was not original. The percentage represents the number of phrases that the program finds in common with database content and divides that number by the total number of words in the file. If, for example, the overall percentage for a submission is 10%, then 10% of the document can be matched to sequences of phrases in the database. These words may be in one passage or may be in several, separate passages.
A lower percentage rating indicates that most of the content is original and a higher percentage rating indicates that much or all of the content matches content found in other sources and requires further investigation. The percentage ranges are associated with colours, as follows:
Blue = 0% (no matching text)
Green = 1% to 24% (one word or more matching)
Yellow = 25% to 49%
Orange = 50% to 74%
Red = 75% to 100%
*Note that there is no “safe” colour or percentage. No percentage or colour in the report can fully evaluate whether text has been plagiarized.
iThenticate® is text matching software that is designed to be used by researchers to ensure the originality of their written work. For example, graduate students and researchers can check their articles and book chapters to be submitted for publication, grant proposals, theses and dissertations.
Turnitin® and iThenticate® check against virtually the same databases, but these services are designed for different categories of users. While Turnitin® is designed to meet the needs of instructors and their courses, iThenticate® is a tool for researchers.
For support and more information, review:
To request an iThenticate® account, contact Sean Warren.
iThenticate Frequently Asked Questions
|What is iThenticate?|
|iThenticate is text matching software that is designed to be used by researchers to ensure the originality of their written work.|
|How is iThenticate different from Turnitin?|
Both are provided by the same vendor, but they are designed for different categories of users, and at Waterloo they are both accessed in different ways.
Turnitin is course-based in our learning management system (LMS) LEARN, and requires instructors to set up courses and assignments. The instructors control the parameters of dropbox and submissions for each course. iThenticate is accessed through a front-end website by individual account holders and the individual controls what they upload and run through the system - they also have the ability to delete their files from the system.
|What databases does iThenticate check against?|
Aggregators, databases, content providers
uWaterloo authors can check documents such as articles and book chapters to be submitted for publication, grant proposals, theses and dissertations, and writing created by individuals in connection with their role at the University of Waterloo. *NOTE: iThenticate is not for use with coursework. There is a limit on the number of accounts and submissions uWaterloo has with iThenticate.
|What are the University of Waterloo's guidelines for graduate students using iThenticate?|
1. Graduate students are encouraged to use iThenticate with support from their supervisor as a tool to advance their understanding of good academic integrity practices.
2. Graduate students are especially encouraged to employ iThenticate to review their research milestones - theses, research proposals, or other substantive elements - and discuss the results with their supervisors prior to submitting these elements formally.
3. PhD students are normally required to employ iThenticate to review their comprehensive exams. Further information can be found in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar section on Comprehensive Exams.
|Who might benefit from using iThenticate?|
|Can iThenticate be used to check someone else’s work?|
|No, iThenticate is provided for uWaterloo authors to check work that they themselves have authored or co-authored.|
|Can instructors use iThenticate to check papers that their students have submitted as a course assignment?|
|No, instructors wishing to check that assignments submitted by their students have not been plagiarized should consider using Turnitin in their course structure. Turnitin is built into LEARN and can be easily deployed. All course outlines must contain the Turnitin boilerplate text in order to use this software.|
|Can iThenticate be used to check a co-authored work?|
|Yes, iThenticate can be used to check works that you have co-authored. Resulting reports can be shared among co-authors.|
No, graduate students should request their own accounts and submit their own papers to iThenticate. Their reports can be shared with their supervisor via email or by sharing their folder if their supervisor has an iThenticate account.
|Who has access to the report and can it be shared among colleagues and collaborators?|
|Your iThenticate account and reports are accessible only to you. You may share your reports via email, printout, or download or by giving another iThenticate user access to your folder.|
|Can uWaterloo faculty use our iThenticate license to check manuscripts that they are reviewing?|
|No, iThenticate is intended for use by authors to check their own work. Many academic publishers use iThenticate to check manuscripts prior to considering them for publication.|
|Is a document submitted to iThenticate retained by the vendor and used in the iThenticate or Turnitin comparison database?|
|No, iThenticate does not add your manuscript to any databases. However, your submissions are archived privately until you delete them.|
|Can an undergraduate student request an iThenticate account?|
|iThenticate is a tool for researchers. An undergraduate student can request an iThenticate account to check an undergraduate thesis/essay or a manuscript to be submitted for publication. iThenticate should not be used to check papers or essays to be submitted to instructors as a course assignment.|
|Do visiting scholars have access to iThenticate?|
|Yes, but they must indicate in the publication that they prepared the paper being reviewed by iThenticate while they were visiting at uWaterloo.|
|Is an iThenticate account holder charged a fee for document checking?|
|No, the University has purchased a site license for use by members of the uWaterloo community. Waterloo researchers are not charged a fee to create an individual account nor are they charged a fee to submit and check their documents.|
|What file types are recognized?|
|MS Word, Word XML, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, OpenOffice (ODT) and plain text.|
|Can various versions of a document be submitted to iThenticate over time?|
|A revision of a previously uploaded manuscript can be uploaded and checked again, to a maximum of five times. You may choose to submit a substantially revised manuscript as a new submission.|
First step is to request creation of a personal iThenticate account. Contact:
|Where to get help?|
Documentation and training materials are available on the iThenticate website: http://www.ithenticate.com/training
For support and more information, review:
Contact Sean Warren for technical support.
To find out more about iThenticate or suggest changes or additions to this FAQ Contact:
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