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Instructor Conditions of Turnitin Use at Queen's University

The use of Turnitin by our instructors is completely voluntary.

Those wishing to use Turnitin in their courses must comply with the following conditions of use:

  1. Turnitin is a tool that will assist in detecting textual similarities between compared works. Turnitin does not determine if an act of plagiarism has occurred. Therefore, instructors must exercise their independent professional judgment in, and assume responsibility for, determining whether a text has been plagiarized or not.
  2. All Students must be informed at the start of the course that the instructor will be using Turnitin. In addition, it is recommended that instructors also take a few moments in class at the outset of the course to discuss the use of Turnitin and the issue of academic integrity with students.
  3. Turnitin cannot be used for spot-checking individual student work. Spot-checking is defined as the use of Turnitin to investigate an individual student’s work where plagiarism is suspected and where Turnitin is not being used for all students at the outset of a course on assignments/exams/papers.
  4. Students must also be informed at the outset of the course that they can object to the use of Turnitin. However, if they object to the use of Turnitin, they must advise the instructor at the beginning of the course and make arrangements for additional work or alternative strategies to ensure the integrity of the work. In such instances, the instructor is still expected to ensure the integrity of the work, using the following suggested methods:
    1. check the assignment using manual internet searches;
    2. implement an alternative assignment such as
      • requiring annotated bibliographies from students; 
      • requiring students to submit all rough work with their papers; 
      • requiring that students include the call numbers or website addresses of all sources cited in their paper;
    3. An alternate method of the instructor’s devising
  5. The course syllabus must include the following statement:

Turnitin statement

This course makes use of Turnitin, a third-party application that helps maintain standards of excellence in academic integrity. Normally, students will be required to submit their course assignments through onQ to Turnitin. In doing so, students’ work will be included as source documents in the Turnitin reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism.

Turnitin is a suite of tools that provide instructors with information about the authenticity of submitted work and facilitates the process of grading. Turnitin compares submitted files against its extensive database of content, and 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.

Please read Turnitin’s Privacy Pledge, Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, which governs users’ relationship with Turnitin. Also, please note that Turnitin uses cookies and other tracking technologies; however, in its service contract with Queen’s Turnitin has agreed that neither Turnitin nor its third-party partners will use data collected through cookies or other tracking technologies for marketing or advertising purposes. For further information about how you can exercise control over cookies, see Turnitin’s Privacy Policy:

Turnitin may provide other services that are not connected to the purpose for which Queen’s University has engaged Turnitin. Your independent use of Turnitin’s other services is subject solely to Turnitin’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and Queen’s University has no liability for any independent interaction you choose to have with Turnitin.

[Portions of this document have been adapted, with permission, from the University of Toronto Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation tipsheet “Turnitin: An Electronic Resource to Deter Plagiarism”.]