Many of us have used it for english papers, history papers, term papers or even persuasive papers. Turnitin.com has been one of the most effective plagiarism detecting tools that teachers have been using for years, and its popularity continues to grow. It’s a website that most high school students are familiar with, along with anyone associated with Teenink.com, considering that it states boldly that everything submitted will also be checked on turnitin.com. It’s a database that contains billions of different pieces of writing including; Internet sources, books, newspapers, and, of course, student papers.

It goes without saying that the longer this site stays around the larger it’s going to get. New books, papers and hundreds of other sources are being added almost daily to this database. Let’s be real though, there's only so many different ways you can write a sentence. There’s only so many ways a high school student can analyze the humor that’s present within "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", or only so many ways someone can explain the use of color imagery Scott Fitzgerald uses in his novel, "The Great Gatsby". There are only so many different ways you can write about things before people begin to copy each other inadvertently.

Turnitin.com is a useful tool, there’s no doubt about it, but where do we draw the line on plagiarism? A friend of mine was once forced to re-write a paper because his thesis statement and a few of his topic sentences were too similar to those of a person who had graduated a number of years ago. The paper was his own thoughts, and came from his own mind, and it was his own fingers rapping against the keyboard that created each and every sentence. Not only that, but he had no affiliation to this grad what so ever, which isn’t surprising considering how long ago he graduated. Is it plagiarism if every thought and every sentence and every word written in a paper comes from a person’s own ideas? Is it plagiarism if it’s inadvertent?

The copy and paste days from informational Internet sites are over, and have been over, for quite some time. The topics teachers are asking us to write about are becoming more difficult and more specific, like by having to include critical evidence and the use of different informational documents to try and support our ascertains. With that said, I believe that there’s only a matter of time before plagiarism becomes more frequent throughout high school papers, merely because of the fact there’s only so many ways you can create a sentence . . . or a paragraph . . . or even an entire term paper.

Turnitin.com is a fantastic plagiarism tool for teachers, but I can’t help but wonder how long it can be effective.

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

Name Not Valid said...
Apr. 30, 2015 at 2:30 pm
I feel the same way. My constant worry is that I'll be typing original ideas and get a bad grade for plagiarizing when I don't mean to. It seems ridiculous to assume every student will plagiarize if they don't use a specific site that will evaluate the paper (and yes, that is a reason some professors use sites like this) or the professor is just too lazy to go through it themselves (this is another case). Accidental plagiarism is way too common. Everything has been written before...
snocown said...
Nov. 2, 2012 at 9:59 am
actually, whenever i use turnitin.com it doesnt say i plagiarized anything, it just says 0% even when i used direct quotes lol
cf2010 said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 3:22 pm
Jason, great analysis of TURNITIN .com , i must agree, a paper of mine contained 60% plagiarism and thankfully I had each draft to diagram the route I took, in order to not have rewrite the paper.
Okay replied...
Jan. 18, 2010 at 9:09 am
I agree 100% but it also has to do with what the teacher counts as plagiarism. One of my friends turned in a paper and apparently some kid on the other side of the country shares his brain and turnitin said my friends paper was more than 90% plagiarized. of course the teacher was smart enough to realize my friend didn't steal the other kids work. Another one of my friends had posted his paper on a website so other people could help him edit. And so when he finally turned it in to turnitin ... (more »)
im mi replied...
Apr. 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm
Its not called plagiarism as long as you make your reference properly. Its only a similarity report. Lecturers will not have the right to penalise this when you have properly referenced.
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