Overview: You will all be submitting a copy of your paper to the website called turnitin.com. This service scans your entire paper and checks it against hundreds of thousands of scholarly and non-scholarly sources as well as other student papers and the entire internet (blogs, wikipedia, you name it).

Once you log in and post your paper on turnitin.com, the system generates a report on your paper which shows exactly where every citation came from and compares it to all the papers in the paper mills that sell papers. I've posted this assignment a few days early, so you guys can all post to it and see your own originality report before the due date. This report shows you exactly what percentage of your paper is found in other sources. It color codes it for you; if your paper is under 20%, it is in the green, and you're probably looking pretty good. If your report shows you in the yellow or red, you may have a problem with plagiarism or just using too many outside sources. If you get a high percentage in the red or yellow, you probably need to revise your draft and reduce how much you rely on outside source.

Below are the directions for setting up a turnitin user account and then submitting your paper on the site. Be sure you do this by this coming Wednesday night; I'll be grading on Thursday and need to see the turnitin reports before I start...

Nag, nag, nag! Be sure you record the password and username you create on turnitin. I'd suggest emailing it to yourself and writing it in whatever folder you use to organize your school and research materials, so you have it written down somewhere. Far too many students can't remember this when they go to submit their second paper at the end of the semester!

Turnitin.com Instructions

Below are the steps to create a user account and submit your essay into the anti-plagiarism service. It’s pretty easy to log in, and this tutorial will help. Be sure you read all the steps below before you proceed! If you can’t quite get it right, no biggie. Drop me a line, and we'll figure it out, or come see me during office hours, and bring your paper on a disk or thumb drive, and we can submit it there.

Here are the steps--

1) Go to the URL: http://turnitin.com/static/index.html

2) Click on the “New User” link in the upper right corner of the page (just underneath the login boxes)

3) Look at the center of the page where it says "New Students Start Here". Click on "Create User Profile." If you feel you need it, there is a link here for a quick video tutorial as well.

4) Two boxes should appear.  The one on the right has you select what type of account you’ll be using.  Select “student” to determine the type of account you have and continue.

5) The system will ask for a class ID and password:

Turnitin Class ID: 3198268

Turnitin Class Enrollment Password: 1984

6) Supply your first and last name (your actual name, not just a screen name) and an email address—one you can easily access and use. This email address will serve as your user ID for future log ins to the site, so remember it for use on our future assignments this semester. Keep this login information for the end of the semester and our final paper!

7) Create a password for future log ins. Remember this password for our final paper!

8) Create Security question. Remember this question!

9) Agree to terms, and then hit “I Agree--Create Profile”

10) Select our class: Face to Face English 1A (Spring 2010)

11) Click the “Submit” Icon which looks like a paper with a green + on it.


12) Create a “submission title” for this essay. Call yours “Research Paper 1”

13) Browse: Click the browse button, and you’ll be able to scan your computer to find your actual paper. Once you find it, select it and hit okay.

14) Click the “Submit” button in the upper right corner.

15) You’ll see the text of your paper. If this the right paper, click “yes, submit.” If not, click "cancel, go back” and repeat steps 13 and 14.

16) You’ll see the “Digital Receipt” of your paper, and you’re done! You can log out and pop a cork because your paper is now done!

17) If this didn't work out, don't freak out. You can come see me, and we'll get the paper on the system. 

Student Quick Start Guide: There is also a link here for the official Turnitin getting started guide, but I'm not sure how good it is: Student Quickstart Guide


 Thoughts on turnitin.com:

Finally, I wanted to provide a little discussion of what you need to look for when you see your report.  If you get your report back, and you’re nervous about your results from turnitin.com, read on...

First off, let's discuss the percentages. You'll get a percentage and a color (green, yellow, orange, or red--kind of like the terror level from the DHS). What this means is, turnitin.com has scoured the text of your paper and has matched every exact phrase you've used with other work out there. Most of it is going to match other student work because those other students all over the world have quoted the same books you have, so it's all in the system now.

If you are in the green, you're probably good. If you're really low (say 12% or lower?), you probably haven't used enough sources. I'd guestimate that between 13% and 20% are ideal. If you get into the low yellow, low 30's say, you're probably cool, too. The key is, there is no magic number. Some students are in the green, and all of it is plagiarized because it has no citations. Some are in the high yellow, but the way the paper is done, it is totally cool. I look at each paper individually. The main thing I'm after is a complete high orange or red, way up there.

I'd love to see a paper that is in the green and has a lot of small hits. If you have a lot of 1% or 2% hits linking you to other student papers, and each of these hits has a citation next to it in your paper, that's perfect.

What I'd like you to use the website for:

1) Check for a really high or really low percentage of outside quotes. If you find that only 6% or 7% of your paper is a quote, you probably need to go back in and add more research. If you find that you're way up in the 40% or even higher, you need to paraphrase more and quote less (and you need a lot more critical interpretation of outside sources instead of so many quotes).

2) Use it to check your work for citations. That's the main reason I want you to submit a rough draft. Look at every single match that the site finds in your paper. Check each one to make sure you have introduced and given a citation for that material. It's a great way to ensure that you avoid inadvertent plagiarism (See NA pages 184+) and to make sure you didn't forget to use quotation marks around your quotes.

3) Use it to check your paraphrases. Remember, a paraphrase needs to put things completely in your own words. If you paraphrased something, and it comes back as a direct wording hit, you need to either reword it some more, so it's fully in your own words, or you need to just directly quote the whole thing.