Understanding the Similarity Report

A typical submission made to an assignment in Turnitin generates a Similarity Report. The similarity score is a percentage of a paper's content that matches to Turnitin's databases; it is not an assessment of whether the paper includes plagiarized material. Turnitin does not check for plagiarism in a piece of work. Instead, we will check a student's work against our databases, and if there are instances where a student's writing is similar to, or matches against, one of our sources, we will bring this to the instructor's attention for review.

Our database includes billions of web pages: both current and archived content from the internet, a repository of works students have submitted to Turnitin in the past, and a collection of documents, which comprises thousands of periodicals, journals, and publications.

It is perfectly natural for an assignment to match against some content in our databases. See examples below.

Similarity scoring examples

Example 1: A student may have submitted a paper to Turnitin in the past. If they had their name on that submission, it is entirely possible that, if you have not excluded small matches, their name is highlighted in their Similarity Report.

An instructor can rectify this issue by excluding by word number. In most cases, excluding 5 words should safely exclude a student's name from being highlighted in their Similarity Report.

Example 2 : A student may have used Turnitin to submit drafts of the same paper, meaning their final draft has resulted in a score of 100%.

As the instructor is likely aware that their student has submitted multiple times, they can rectify this issue by excluding the student's previous submissions from the Similarity Report.

Example 3 : A student has copied and pasted a chunk of text into their paper, due to a lack of knowledge on the topic they are covering. Their similarity score is 20%. In comparison, another student who has a firm basis of knowledge for the same assignment and knows enough to gather information from several sources to quote and reference correctly has a similarity score of 22%. Both students will be shown to have matches against our database. However, one of these students copied directly from a website, whereas the other provided properly sourced quotes.

Instructors can opt to exclude quotes from the Similarity Report to lower similarity scores where applicable.

Example 4 : A student has managed to acquire a copy of another student's paper. They submit this paper to Turnitin on 15th October and receive a similarity score of 25%. The student who originally wrote the paper submits it to Turnitin a week later, receiving a 100% similarity score.

In this case, regenerating the Similarity Report of the student who plagiarized will immediately identify collusion allowing you to follow institutional regulation.

Example 5 : A student has submitted a qualitative study to Turnitin, including a significant number of quotes and an extensive bibliography, as required for the topic of the paper. The student's similarity score is 53%; this exceeds the acceptable score set by their institution.

This issue could have been avoided if quotes and bibliography had been excluded from the Similarity Report.

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Turnitin: A staff guide to interpreting the Similarity Report

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This guide describes what a similarity report shows and how to interpret matches highlighted on a student’s assignment submitted to Turnitin.

The similarity report is an effective way to:

  • Check that online sources in an assignment have been properly cited and the text has not simply been copied without appropriate referencing.
  • Help students as a formative learning tool around referencing and that you can use with your students to improve their skills.
  • Identify collusion between students on their course and potentially from other institutions who use Turnitin in the UK.
  • Ensure a level of equality and parity when checking the similarity of students’ work against the vast range of possible online sources.
  • Deter students from plagiarising and encourage good academic practice.

It’s important to know that a simliarity match does not always means plagiarism . You will need to apply your academic judgment by understanding how the report works and what it shows.

The similarity report is best used in conjunction with other methods to prevent and detect plagiarism and as part of a co-ordinated approach to maintaining the academic integrity of students’ written work.

Turnitin guide:  Setting reasonable expectations for the Turnitin Similarity Score

How to interpret the Similarity Report

The similarity index percentage.

An overall percentage score (with colour code) is shown next to a student’s name under the Similarity column in the Assignment Inbox. This shows the total amount of matched text as a proportion of the assignment.

This ‘at a glance’ guide should not be used as a measure of plagiarism. Even a 1% score could potentially be plagiarised.

There is no ideal percentage to look for . Students’ work is bound to contain some words from other sources. The percentage will vary depending on the type and length of assignment and the requirements of the work involved .

Individual matches need to be investigated by opening the student’s paper and viewing the match overview and breakdown panel.

What does the Similarity Index percentage indicate?

A 100% match means the assignment has no original work . It has most probably been submitted previously to Turnitin . This can happen if the student is making a re-submission of their work and the file had already been submitted to the Turnitin database. It could be a student error and they submitted to another assignment area by mistake. It can also indicate collusion or copying an essay from another student, either in their class, from a previous year or another institution.

Types of frequently found ‘acceptable’ matched text.

There are certain types of matched text that Turnitin will find, which can be safely excluded or ignored with discretion. These matches will be included in the overall similarity score for a similarity report and be highlighted as a matches on a student’s paper.

These include:

  • Quotations: Properly referenced quotations can be ignored. These can be excluded using the filter.
  • References and Bibliography: Other students will have used the same references at some point and these will show up.
  • Matching formats: e.g. the same essay title.
  • Tables and Charts showing shared or copied data or statistics.
  • Appendices may also have a large amount of matching text as other students may well have used the same sources.
  • Small matches that form common phrases in a sentence or subject terminology will be detected. These can be removed using the small match filter.
  • Paraphrasing text from a source will be highlighted even where words in the phrase have been changed.  If the source has been cited, it remains the academic judgment of the tutor to decide if the text has been suitably paraphrased.

Important information!

Examples of common match patterns found on assignments.

Page last updated on September 20, 2023 by adambailey

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turnitin assignment similarity

Why has the Similarity Report not generated?

Apr 7, 2020 • knowledge article, information.

If a Similarity Report has not generated, it could be due to any of the following reasons: The assignment settings selected:  

  • If the assignment has been set to generate reports on the due date , Similarity Reports will only be available once the assignment due date and time have passed.
  • The assignment settings must be set to generate Similarity Reports . If this setting is not enabled, no submissions made to the assignment will receive a report.
  •  Password-protected files
  •  Microsoft® Works (.wps) files
  •  Microsoft Word 2007 macros-enabled .docm files
  •  OpenOffice Text (.odt) files created and downloaded from Google Docs online
  •  Document (.doc) files created using OpenOffice
  •  Spreadsheets created outside of Microsoft Excel (i.e. .ods)
  •  Apple Pages
  •  Text with visual effects

The assignment settings have changed: If when an assignment was created and the assignment settings were set to  generate reports on the due date  or the option to generate Similarity Reports was disabled (or both). Changing these settings to enable the generation of Similarity Reports or choosing either  Immediately (first report is final)  or  Immediately (can overwrite reports until due date) in the advanced Similarity Report settings after submissions have been made, in some cases the Similarity Reports would not retrospectively generate*. If this is the case manual intervention may be required from the Turnitin support team.  *Some Learning Management Systems/integrations do attempt to retrospectively generate reports (such as Desire2Learn (D2L Extended LTI – V2) The submission is a resubmission: If resubmissions are allowed within an assignment, the first three resubmissions will generate a new Similarity Report straight away. After three resubmissions, a 24-hour wait is enforced to generate Similarity Reports for all subsequent resubmissions. Therefore, Similarity Reports for a fourth resubmission and onwards will take 24 hours to generate.

  • For instructor guidance on this topic, click here .
  • For student guidance on this topic, click here .

Turnitin is unable to extract the text from within a file using the following acceptable file types: Adobe® PDF - Turnitin will not accept PDF image files, forms, or portfolios, files that do not contain highlightable text (e.g. a scanned file - usually an image), documents containing multiple files or files created with software other than Adobe Acrobat®. Microsoft PowerPoint® (.pptx, .ppt, .ppsx, and .pps) - Text with visual effects is not supported, and it is recommended that any visual effects such as shadows and 3D be removed prior to submitting to Turnitin.  The third party theme ‘Slate’ is not supported when used in the creation of a PowerPoint file. When the 'Slate' theme is applied, the text in the document becomes unselectable after the file is converted into a PDF, preventing Turnitin from extracting it. Turnitin service outage: During times of service disruption, report generation may be affected. If you are experiencing issues and should have a Similarity Report, view our Turnitin system status page to check for any service disruptions.

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Scribbr Plagiarism Checker

Plagiarism checker software for students who value accuracy.

Extensive research shows that Scribbr's plagiarism checker, in partnership with Turnitin, detects plagiarism more accurately than other tools, making it the no. 1 choice for students.


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Turnitin Similarity Report

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  • Turnitin-powered plagiarism checker
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Volume pricing available for institutions. Get in touch.

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Avoiding accidental plagiarism

You don't need a plagiarism checker, right?

You would never copy-and-paste someone else’s work, you’re great at paraphrasing, and you always keep a tidy list of your sources handy.

But what about accidental plagiarism ? It’s more common than you think! Maybe you paraphrased a little too closely, or forgot that last citation or set of quotation marks.

Even if you did it by accident, plagiarism is still a serious offense. You may fail your course, or be placed on academic probation. The risks just aren’t worth it.

Scribbr & academic integrity

Scribbr is committed to protecting academic integrity. Our plagiarism checker software, Citation Generator , proofreading services , and free Knowledge Base content are designed to help educate and guide students in avoiding unintentional plagiarism.

We make every effort to prevent our software from being used for fraudulent or manipulative purposes.

Ask our team

Want to contact us directly? No problem.  We  are always here for you.

Support team - Nina

Frequently asked questions

No, the Self-Plagiarism Checker does not store your document in any public database.

In addition, you can delete all your personal information and documents from the Scribbr server as soon as you’ve received your plagiarism report.

Scribbr’s Plagiarism Checker is powered by elements of Turnitin’s Similarity Checker , namely the plagiarism detection software and the Internet Archive and Premium Scholarly Publications content databases .

The add-on AI detector is also powered by Turnitin software and includes the Turnitin AI Writing Report.

Note that Scribbr’s free AI Detector is not powered by Turnitin, but instead by Scribbr’s proprietary software.

Extensive testing proves that Scribbr’s plagiarism checker is one of the most accurate plagiarism checkers on the market in 2022.

The software detects everything from exact word matches to synonym swapping. It also has access to a full range of source types, including open- and restricted-access journal articles, theses and dissertations, websites, PDFs, and news articles.

At the moment we do not offer a monthly subscription for the Scribbr Plagiarism Checker. This means you won’t be charged on a recurring basis – you only pay for what you use. We believe this provides you with the flexibility to use our service as frequently or infrequently as you need, without being tied to a contract or recurring fee structure.

You can find an overview of the prices per document here:

Please note that we can’t give refunds if you bought the plagiarism check thinking it was a subscription service as communication around this policy is clear throughout the order process.

Your document will be compared to the world’s largest and fastest-growing content database , containing over:

  • 99.3 billion current and historical webpages.
  • 8 million publications from more than 1,700 publishers such as Springer, IEEE, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, and Taylor & Francis.

Note: Scribbr does not have access to Turnitin’s global database with student papers. Only your university can add and compare submissions to this database.

Scribbr’s plagiarism checker offers complete support for 20 languages, including English, Spanish, German, Arabic, and Dutch.

The add-on AI Detector and AI Proofreader are only available in English.

The complete list of supported languages:

If your university uses Turnitin, the result will be very similar to what you see at Scribbr.

The only possible difference is that your university may compare your submission to a private database containing previously submitted student papers. Scribbr does not have access to these private databases (and neither do other plagiarism checkers).

To cater to this, we have the Self-Plagiarism Checker at Scribbr. Just upload any document you used and start the check. You can repeat this as often as you like with all your sources. With your Plagiarism Check order, you get a free pass to use the Self-Plagiarism Checker. Simply upload them to your similarity report and let us do the rest!

Your writing stays private. Your submissions to Scribbr are not published in any public database, so no other plagiarism checker (including those used by universities) will see them.

Turnitin Feedback Studio +4

Desenvolvido para ipad.

  • 1,4 • 49 avaliações

Capturas de tela

Give and get feedback on the go! The next generation of the Turnitin Feedback Studio app is now available for instructors and students. Instructors using Turnitin's grading tools save time marking student papers while offering more meaningful feedback and ensuring their originality. Students can submit their papers and get access to their Similarity Reports, feedback, and grades anytime, anywhere. For Students: See your Similarity Report℠ View feedback, rubrics, and grades Easily submit to an assignment via Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. View upcoming assignments and due dates Receive notifications when feedback is available For Instructors: Leave comments, marks, and highlights Grade with interactive rubrics Add a voice comment View a Similarity Report Navigate between papers, assignments, and classes Grade offline * Feedback Studio for iPad is free with an institutional subscription to Turnitin.

Versão 3.2.5

Bug fixes. Resolved - submission loading issues.

Avaliações e opiniões

49 avaliações

If Only It Worked. . . .

I keep wanting to give this app a chance, and it keeps wasting my time. It’s full of bugs, will close suddenly in the middle of your using it, and sometimes even fails to sync whole sets of graded papers (forcing the instructor to do the work all over again). Now it’s telling me that a whole set of papers my students have submitted through my learning management system are “not available” and that my comments won’t be viewable till March, 2024—about six months from now, once my class is over. This app is just too difficult to use. What a pity. Turnitin should be ashamed, considering how much money they make and how many instructors use their product. if I could give it less than one star, I would.

Pointless App

If you’re an instructor, this is pointless. The interface to give feedback is cumbersome on a mobile device. There is no functionality to upload new files or cut/paste submissions to your current classes or assignments, which was the whole reason I downloaded the app. You’ll have to stick with the website. Turnitin has had plenty of time to develop a functional app. Clearly, it’s not on their to-do list even though most of their users are on mobile devices. A real shame.

Does not load submissions

The app was already not ideal, but now assignment submissions for new classes won't load. I can see submissions from previous classes, but new assignment submissions all appear as past due when the submission clearly there when viewing the class in a browser. Turnitin has been extremely slow to fix an issue that more than just a bug. If you can't load student submissions in the app, you can't use the app to grade paper, making the app completely worthless.

Privacidade do app

Turnitin , responsável pelo desenvolvimento do app, indicou que as práticas de privacidade do app podem incluir o gerenciamento de dados conforme descrito abaixo. Para mais informações, consulte sua política de privacidade .

Dados não vinculados a você

Os seguintes dados podem ser coletados, mas não estão vinculados à sua identidade:

  • Identificado­res
  • Diagnóstico

As práticas de privacidade podem variar, por exemplo, com base nos recursos que você usa ou na sua idade. Saiba mais


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Brightspace Support

Instructional Technology Spotlight – Integrated Tools for Instructors to Consider

Posted by Michael Coley on Monday, February 19, 2024 in Spotlight .

This month, our Spotlight on Instructional Technology takes a look at some of the various integrated tools you can use with and in Brightspace. Integrated tools are third-party tools that are not part of Brightspace but can either connect into the platform and/or work independently from it. These tools build out different abilities and uses that can be beneficial to teaching and learning in a variety of different ways. There are numerous different integrated tools that connect to Brightspace and are supported by our team, but for this post, we want to take a look at three specific ones. 

Screenshot of a computer interface window that says Create Individual Assignment

First, Video Assignments (formerly known as Bongo) is a tool that allows students to submit videos through Brightspace in order for them to be evaluated similar to doing a presentation in class. This can obviously be useful if the course is 100% online, but even courses that meet entirely in person can make use of this tool by using it as a pathway to help students practice their presentations and get feedback before actually presenting in class. Just as submitting a rough draft and getting feedback helps improve the final draft of a paper or written project, practice rounds of presentations can also help students craft and hone their presentation skills without the pressure and anxiety of presenting in front of a classroom full of people. Additionally, you can have students do peer assessment of each other’s video submissions so that they can give positive and constructive feedback on presentations, speeches, or even practicing speaking a foreign language. We have several guides that outline various features in Video Assignments that may be of use to Instructors as well as Students.

  • Getting Started with Bongo/Video Assignments (Instructor version)
  • How do I create a video assignment?
  • How do I view student submissions?
  • How do I leave feedback on the submissions?
  • How do I view peer feedback on the submissions?
  • How do I grade video assignment submissions?  
  • Getting Started with Video Assignments/Bongo (Student version)
  • How do I submit a video assignment?
  • How do I leave feedback for my peers?

Kaltura logo

The second tool we want to take a look at is a specific feature of the Kaltura Media Player that we use in Brightspace. While most people know how to upload and add videos to courses with Kaltura, not everyone knows that you can also build Quizzes in Kaltura videos. This feature is a simple way for instructors to have students watch a video and then answer questions at specific times in that video. For example, if you have a video of demonstrations or situations you want students to respond to, you can add questions at various points throughout the video so that students can respond in time with the video they are watching. This works exceptionally well for gathering feedback throughout an asynchronous video session as well as having students answer how they would respond to a situation before giving them more information as the video continues.

  • Kaltura Support page – “How Does Interactive Video Quizzing Work?”
  • How can I create a video quiz using a video in My Media?
  • How can I grade student responses to a Kaltura Video Quiz?

Gradescope logo

The last tool we will spotlight this month is Gradescope . This tool is made by the same company that makes Turnitin and is designed to make grading on-paper quizzes or exams easier to do at scale. Instructors or students can scan in student submissions, and then Gradescope is able to identify where questions are located on the page, what questions are the same on each student submission, and has a great ability to make grading submissions consistently and quickly. By using a uniform rubric across the entire assignment, graders in Gradescope are able to easily adjust scores for a single question that then are available and can apply to all submissions of the same assignment. 

If you are interested in learning more about how Gradescope can work for you, here are a few select resources for your review. 

  • Setting Up Gradescope in your Course – This is our own guide on how to set up Gradescope in your Brightspace course.
  • Gradescope Workflow for Instructors – This video walks instructors through the basics of using Gradescope for grading and managing student assignments/submissions. 
  • Gradescope Student Workflow Video – This video shows how students can use Gradescope to submit work and view grades and feedback.

If you’re interested in any of the other third-party integrated tools that our team supports, check out the Integrated Edu Tools in Brightspace page for more examples and resources. 

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turnitin assignment similarity

Exploring the gray area: Understanding paraphrasing as a potential path to plagiarism

Nora Mawla

Five reasons that paraphrasing skills are the superheroes of strong literacy curriculum.

turnitin assignment similarity

The Paraphrasing Pack consists of resources that are ready to be implemented in the 6th - 12th-grade classroom.

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In the labyrinthine world of academic writing, paraphrasing walks a thin line between being a useful tool and a potential pitfall, leading to plagiarism.

Often referred to as "patchwriting" or " mosaic plagiarism," the act of paraphrasing raises a fundamental question: What makes writing truly original in an era saturated with accessible information? Mark Twain's assertion that all ideas are merely reconfigurations of existing ones challenges us to consider the essence of originality. This blog ventures into the complex dynamics of paraphrasing, disentangling its legitimate use from its problematic misuse. We'll delve into what constitutes effective paraphrasing that respects academic integrity and when it veers into the territory of plagiarism.

Unpacking the art of paraphrasing

Paraphrasing serves as a bridge, translating complex or specialized topics into accessible and simplified language. It is also a way for a student or researcher to synthesize what they have read, putting text into their own words to A) better understand the topic at hand and B) support their writing with a sound, meaningfully reworded example from an outside source. The Office of Research Integrity within the US Department of Health & Human Services offers a compelling example, transforming a dense scientific explanation into a concise, digestible format. Below is the original content: “Because the intracellular concentration of potassium ions is relatively high, potassium ions tend to diffuse out of the cell. This movement is driven by the concentration gradient for potassium ions. Similarly, the concentration gradient for sodium ions tends to promote their movement into the cell. However, the cell membrane is significantly more permeable to potassium ions than to sodium ions. As a result, potassium ions diffuse out of the cell faster than sodium ions enter the cytoplasm. The cell therefore experiences a net loss of positive charges, and as a result the interior of the cell membrane contains an excess of negative charges, primarily from negatively charged proteins” (Martini & Bartholomew, 1997, p. 204).

Here is an appropriate paraphrase of the above material:

“A textbook of anatomy and physiology (Martini & Bartholomew, 1997, p. 204) reports that the concentration of potassium ions inside of the cell is relatively high and, consequently, some potassium tends to escape out of the cell. Just the opposite occurs with sodium ions.”

The Office of Research Integrity also gives an example of an inappropriate version of paraphrasing from the original text: “...This movement is triggered by the concentration gradient for potassium ions. Similarly, the concentration gradient for sodium ions tends to promote their movement into the cell. However, the cell membrane is much more permeable to potassium ions than it is to sodium ions. As a result, potassium ions diffuse out of the cell more rapidly than sodium ions enter the cytoplasm…” (Martini & Bartholomew, 1997, p. 204). You’ll note that the above “rewritten” example is basically a copy of the original, save for a few superficial alterations, including word deletions, synonym swaps, and additions.

Because most of the words and structure of the original paragraph remain the same, this paragraph would technically be considered plagiarism, despite the writer crediting the original authors. As the Office of Research Integrity puts it: “[M]aking only cosmetic modifications to others’ writing misleads the reader as to who the true author of the original writing really is." In this scenario, a student could instead ask for support in learning how to more accurately paraphrase the information or alternatively, use a direct quote with a correctly cited source to make it clear that this is not their content. Effective paraphrasing isn't just about avoiding plagiarism; it's about enhancing comprehension and adding value to the discourse.

The original thought conundrum

In the realm of academic discourse, Bloom's Taxonomy emerges as a crucial framework, offering a layered understanding of cognitive development. This taxonomy, a hierarchy starting from basic knowledge recall to the creation of new ideas, challenges us to consider the concept of 'original thought' in education. As we go from 'Remembering' and 'Understanding' through to 'Applying', 'Analyzing', and 'Evaluating', we reach the peak - 'Creating'. This final stage is where originality is presumed to flourish. However, this presents a conundrum: in an age where information is ubiquitous and influences are numerous, can any thought claim absolute originality? This paradox is especially relevant in a digital era saturated with ideas, where the difference between inspiration and replication becomes increasingly blurred. Bloom’s Taxonomy, therefore, not only maps out cognitive skills but also invites a deeper reflection on the nature and possibility of truly original thought in our modern knowledge ecosystem.

What’s the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing?

Plagiarism and paraphrasing, while seemingly similar, diverge significantly in intent and execution. Plagiarism is the act of passing off someone else's work or ideas as one's own while paraphrasing, in contrast, aims to rearticulate ideas for clarity while maintaining the essence of the original work. Paraphrasing becomes problematic when it strays into the realm of plagiarism, often manifested in the failure to properly attribute sources, bring new insights to the table, or to uphold academic integrity. To wholly uphold academic integrity is to commit to honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. It is a holistic concept that must be backed up by institutional policies, curriculum, teaching interventions, assessment design, and feedback loops that strengthen a student’s bond to learning. In an earlier post, we explored the ways in which paraphrasing may become problematic. The following three examples are situations that may cause challenges around paraphrasing expectations:

  • When a student does not understand the purpose behind paraphrasing, they may not see the importance of attributing what they've paraphrased and therefore overlook doing so . Educators must take great care in building a culture of academic integrity and explaining to students how cited, well-paraphrased passages not only enhance their writing (and also provide variety in an essay that would otherwise be all quotations), they uphold integrity by recognizing an author’s original work.
  • When a student does not have the foundational literacy skills to paraphrase, it may lead them to unintentionally plagiarize. In a suspected case of academic misconduct, an educator must ascertain if it is a skill deficit or deliberate plagiarism. From there, strengthening a student’s literary comprehension skills and basic academic writing skills can help bolster their confidence and ability to paraphrase. Turnitin’s Draft Coach can also be used to help students write accurate citations in Microsoft® Word for the web and Google Docs™.
  • When a student knowingly and purposely uses short-cut solutions in place of their own skills, it’s a sign that action must be taken. Paraphrasing tools, also known as word spinners, alter existing text with the purpose of evading plagiarism detection software. This deeply impacts learning because they prevent students from understanding how to truly paraphrase.

Steering clear of paraphrasing pitfalls

Avoiding paraphrasing plagiarism is a nuanced skill, requiring a blend of accurate citation, original sentence structuring, and a deep understanding of the source material. There are many ways to avoid paraphrasing plagiarism while still paraphrasing to summarize work and communicate topics more clearly and holistically. Ways to avoid plagiarizing include:

  • Correct citation of sources
  • Quoting and summarizing texts accurately
  • Writing with your own sentence structures
  • Understanding text and content clearly before paraphrasing

There is also a helpful paraphrasing strategy called the 4R’s: Read, Restate, Recheck, and Repair.

  • Read: Did you understand the passage?
  • Restate: Did you restate important points in your own words?
  • Recheck: Did you include all of the important details?
  • Repair: Did you correct any misinformation?

In addition to the above, the following sections delve into key elements to keep in mind and practical strategies to master this skill, ensuring that paraphrasing enriches, rather than diminishes, academic integrity.

The role of text spinners in paraphrasing plagiarism

Text spinners, or article spinners, present a new hurdle in the realm of paraphrasing plagiarism. These tools, designed to disguise copied content as original, exacerbate the issue by blurring the lines between legitimate paraphrasing and deceptive rewriting. “Simply put,” says Christine Lee, “when students use word spinners, they aren’t producing their own original work. Original work means that even when paraphrasing, students regenerate the ideas of another person into their own words and voice to express their own understanding of concepts.” Educators need to understand the emerging trends in misconduct and academic integrity so that they can build awareness around them, educate students on their misuse, and mitigate any threats to an institution's reputation to ensure authentic student learning.

How to effectively teach paraphrasing

Educators bear the responsibility of guiding students through the maze of paraphrasing. This entails instilling respect for academic integrity, teaching proper citation techniques, and encouraging the development of independent thought. To start, it is imperative to highlight examples of accurate paraphrasing and how it differs from quotations and summarizing. As quoted in an earlier Turnitin post, according to the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL):

  • Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.
  • Paraphrasing involves rewording a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source because there is no creation of new ideas. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.
  • Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source because no new ideas have been introduced. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material.

And while there are myriad ways for educators to approach and teach this highly important skill, the following are a few resources that can support thoughtful plagiarism education and practice:

  • Explain the course’s or institution’s policy on academic integrity clearly and early in the semester. Outline course and assignment expectations explicitly, including appropriate use and misuse of AI tools. By building a culture of integrity that is clearly defined, students can more deeply understand the value of accurate paraphrasing and citations, as well as understand the consequences of misconduct.
  • Dive into Turnitin’s Paraphrasing Pack , eleven out-of-the-box resources developed by veteran educators that are ready to be implemented in the classroom. It features everything from research strategies and student checklists for paraphrasing to lesson presentations and printable graphic organizers.
  • Explore all of the resources that support academic integrity in the age of AI , including valuable assets that help students to better understand how and when to use AI tools ethically.
  • Conduct a candid conversation with a student if their work appears to have similarities to other texts without proper paraphrasing or citation, or if inappropriate usage of AI tools is suspected. These dialogues often transform a moment of misconduct into an opportunity for learning by determining if there is a skill deficit that can be readily addressed. The data housed in the Similarity Report, including instances of synonym swapping, as well as Turnitin’s AI writing detection tool, can both serve as jumping off points for these essential conversations.

Maintaining academic integrity while paraphrasing

While building that culture of academic integrity and teaching skills is the first step, educators know that oftentimes it’s necessary to take another step, one that will confirm or refute that the student’s work is solely their own. It may be as simple as a remarkably sophisticated sentence structure or vocabulary choice, but educators tend to recognize when a student misrepresents something that is not their work, as their own. That next step is as simple as reviewing Turnitin’s newly enhanced Similarity Report, which has a streamlined workflow to show both the Similarity Score and the AI writing score. While AI continues to evolve, so too does the students’ use of AI tools. Turnitin’s AI writing score may indicate the use of AI paraphrasing tools to modify AI-generated content. Educators have no “extra clicks” as AI paraphrasing detection is built seamlessly into the existing workflow that educators already use and trust. As before, this score is to inform the educator of the likelihood that the student tried to use AI paraphrasing tools as a shortcut; whether intentional plagiarism or not is determined by the educator and the student during formative discussions surrounding their work. Then, next steps to help a student to revise can be taken. Check out this infographic that defines the key differences between human- powered paraphrasing and AI paraphrasing tools, as well as the role an AI paraphrasing detector can play in this process.

turnitin assignment similarity

In sum: How to skillfully paraphrase and avoid plagiarism

The skill of paraphrasing is foundational in academic writing, serving as a safeguard against the pitfalls of plagiarism and academic misconduct. When a student fails to master this skill, they risk inadvertently crossing the line from legitimate use of sources to plagiarism, a serious breach of academic integrity. Effective paraphrasing involves more than just altering a few words; it requires a deep understanding of the original text and the ability to express its essence in a new, original form while maintaining the core message. This process must be coupled with accurate citations and the appropriate use of quotes to credit the original authors. Without these critical components, a student's work can easily fall into the realm of academic dishonesty. Thus, learning to paraphrase correctly is not just about avoiding plagiarism; it's about respecting the intellectual labor of others, upholding the values of academic integrity, and contributing genuinely to the scholarly conversation.

Donetsk and Luhansk: What you should know about the ‘republics’

Who has followed Russia in recognising the controversial, Moscow-backed statelets in Ukraine? And what is life like there?

People wave Russian national flags celebrating the recognizing the independence in the center of Donetsk

Kyiv, Ukraine – Moscow-backed separatists have controlled the southeastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known collectively as Donbas, for almost eight years.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised them only on Monday, paving the way for the official presence of Russian troops in the rebel-controlled areas that occupy about a third of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Keep reading

Why russia recognised separatist-held regions in east ukraine, syria backs russian recognition of east ukraine breakaway regions, stocks slide, oil jumps as russia orders troops to ukraine region, ukraine crisis: asia braces for economic fallout.

So far, only Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Syria have joined Putin in recognising Donetsk and Luhansk – along with breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. They all did so also on Monday.

The central question is whether Russia would recognise them in their current borders. Should it decide to help the rebels “restore” their statelets to the original borders, it may spell a large-scale war between Moscow and Kyiv.

At the moment, Russia will recognise “the borders, where the leadership of the DNR and the LNR are executing their authority,” Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told the Interfax News Agency on Tuesday.

But the foreign ministry also said on Tuesday that the issue of the borders is yet to be resolved.

While Ukraine and the West try to avoid war, other questions loom.

What are the roots of the region’s separatism? What has kept these areas alive since 2014? And what is their future?

Pro-Russian activists in Donetsk


A 13.5 metre-tall statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin still dominates the main square in Donetsk, the capital of the eponymous breakaway region in southeastern Ukraine.

And the constitution adopted by Lenin’s successor, Josef Stalin, has been restored by the Moscow-backed separatist leaders of Donetsk and neighbouring Luhansk after they broke away from the central government in 2014.

This constitution prescribes the death penalty for a number of crimes, making the separatist “People’s Republics” – and authoritarian Belarus nearby – Europe’s only homes to capital punishment.

After almost eight years of existence, the “republics” are understood to have evolved into totalitarian, North Korea-like statelets.

It is near impossible for foreigners to enter the areas. Ukrainians can only visit if they have relatives in Donetsk and Luhansk, and would have to cross into Russia first, which takes about 30 hours and costs $100 – a journey that also involves bribing officials at times. Residents need a Soviet-era residency registration.

In the statelets, secret police and “loyal” residents monitor every word, phone call and text message.

Dissidents or businessmen who refuse to “donate” their assets to the “needs of the People’s Republic” have been thrown in “cellars”, or dozens of makeshift concentration camps, without trial.

“It looks like the 1930s in the Soviet Union, a classic gulag,” Stanislav Aseyev, a publicist who was kidnapped in 2017 in Donetsk and was sentenced by a separatist “court” to 15 years in jail for “espionage”, told Al Jazeera.

For almost two years, he was incarcerated and tortured in these “cellars” until separatists swapped him and dozens of other prisoners in 2017.

Thousands of others were tortured and abused in the “cellars”, according to rights groups and witnesses. The grave human rights abuses make Donetsk and Luhansk far worse than today’s Russia, an international human rights advocate said.

“The cellars where prisoners are held in Donetsk, and the widespread use of torture, are among the most obvious human rights issues,” said Ivar Dale, a senior policy adviser with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, a human rights watchdog group.

But there are much wider problems such as civil and political rights, he said.

“You could say that the political repression in Russia is doubly felt in Donetsk and Luhansk and other areas effectively under control of the Putin regime,” Dale told Al Jazeera.

Rust-belt ruins

These tendencies have gone hand in hand with economic degradation.

The living standards are “many times, if not dozens of times worse than in pre-war 2013”, said Aseyev, 32, who now lives in Kyiv and has published a novel about the events in Donetsk.

This regress looks even more staggering considering Donetsk’s and Luhansk’s not-so-ancient history. The cities were founded by two Brits.

Children evacuated from the Donetsk region

Englishman Charles Gascoigne built a metal factory in what is now Luhansk in 1795, shortly after czarist Russia annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine from the Crimean Khanate, a mostly-Muslim vassal of Ottoman Turkey.

Decades later, in 1869, Welshman John Hughes started a steel plant and a coal mine in what is now Donetsk, and the city was named after him – Hughesovka or Yuzovka – until the Soviet era.

The birth and rapid growth of both cities followed the czarist government’s drive to develop the immense coal and iron ore deposits of what is now eastern Ukraine.

Communist Moscow further spurred the region’s development, and tens of thousands of ethnic Russians settled there, making urban areas almost exclusively Russian-speaking.

Coal and mines grew deeper next to hillocks made of spent ore, and foundries, chemical and power plants dotted the region.

The political heyday of Donetsk began in 2010, when its native Viktor Yanukovych became Ukraine’s president – and brought cohorts of his cronies to Kyiv.

They tried to wrestle control of Ukraine’s politics and economy – but triggered months-long protests that began in November 2013 and ended in February 2014, when the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Yanukovych from office.

The protests are known in Ukraine as the Revolution of Dignity – but Russian President Vladimir Putin still calls them a “coup”.

‘Russian spring’

In the czarist era, the region was known as Novorossiya – or New Russia – and the Kremlin would use the name in 2014 as it proclaimed the “Russian Spring” or “liberation” of Russian-speaking regions in eastern and southern Ukraine.

But pro-Russian rallies and uprisings in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and Odesa, its largest seaport on the Black Sea, failed.

However, thousands of Russian volunteers flocked to Donetsk and Luhansk to aid separatist militias – while many locals were ecstatic about the “Russian Spring”.

“Putin will come and restore order here,” one of their supporters, a rotund minibus driver named Valerii, told this reporter in April 2014 in Donetsk.

But four months later, after the separatists tried to confiscate his minibus, he locked his apartment, loaded the bus with his most valuable belongings, and left for Kyiv.

INTERACTIVE Ukraine Donbas region Feb

‘Price tag’

Even though Ukraine barred any economic ties to the separatist regions, they still exist – and even involve top politicians.

Pro-Western President Petro Poroshenko, who came to power after the Revolution of Dignity, admitted that he channeled government funds worth tens of millions of dollars in exchange for Donetsk coal in the winter of 2014-2015 because otherwise “half of Ukraine could have frozen”.

But Russia still had to bankroll the separatist provinces spending billions of dollars a year.

So, what are Moscow’s economic goals in Donbas?

“Very simple – to lower the price tag of maintaining the occupied territories,” Aleksey Kusch, a Kyiv-based analyst, told Al Jazeera.

To achieve that, Russia may want to remove the middlemen who pocketed the lion’s share of profits from the export of coal and steel and the delivery of humanitarian aid that was immediately resold on the black market.

“They kept up to 70 percent of the profits,” Kushch said.

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