Centre for Teaching and Learning

Centre for Teaching and Learning
Centre for Teaching and Learning


Turnitin logo

Turnitin is a web-based program that allows students and instructors to upload papers in order to receive originality reports in comparison to other assignments in the program’s online repository. Consult these in-class activities to familiarize students with using Turnitin to improve their citation practices before they use it for major assignments.

Originality Reports

Turnitin generates Originality Reports which identify the percentage of matching or highly similar text found in other papers within the Turnitin database. Similar text does not necessarily mean that text is plagiarized, however, it alerts both students and instructors that sections of text match others within the Turnitin repository of previously written assignments.

Use the Originality Report to:

  • Examine your use of quotations and citations. Are quotations indicated with appropriate use of quotation marks? Is every quotation cited? Is there too much use of quotation? Rely more on summarization of key ideas or paraphrasing rather than exact quotation.
  • Examine how close your summarization is to the original text. Rather than change a few words in the original text, try to reframe the entire concept in your own words. Simplify it as if you are explaining it to someone who has no familiarity with the idea.
  • Check for discipline-specific language. Did you define these terms where necessary and draw on creditable sources, such as academic encyclopedias and dictionaries, for the definition? Repeated use of standard terms may be identified as unoriginal but it would not be considered plagiarism.

The Turnitin Originality Report Guide describes how to interpret the report. 

Before you start...

It is a requirement that any course using Turnitin MUST include the following statement in the course syllabus and in onQ:

Academic Integrity Statement regarding the use of Turnitin at Queen's University

Queen’s University has partnered with the third-party application Turnitin to help maintain our standards of excellence in academic integrity. Turnitin is a suite of tools that provide instructors with information about the authenticity of submitted work and facilitates the process of grading. Submitted files are compared against an extensive database of content, and Turnitin produces a similarity report and a similarity score for each assignment. A similarity score is the percentage of a document that is similar to content held within the database. Turnitin does not determine if an instance of plagiarism has occurred. Instead, it gives instructors the information they need to determine the authenticity of work as a part of a larger process.


Turnitin Help

Instructor Documentation

All documentation is located on the onQ Support website under Turnitin.