Turnitin Support

Turnitin Support

You may be asked to submit your work to your teacher through a tool called Turnitin. Turnitin is used to check the originality of papers and the correctness of citation practices in students' work.

Once your work is submitted, it will be checked against Turnitin's extensive database of student submissions, publications and Internet content.

Your teacher may make Turnitin accessible to you so that you can check your own assignments before final submission, to help you ensure that you're submitting original or correctly cited material.

On this page you can find out about:

How to submit your work to Turnitin

You may be asked to submit your work to Turnitin via Moodle or the Turnitin website. Here are instructions for Turnitin in Moodle.

Submitting via the Turnitin website

You may be asked to submit assignments directly to the Turnitin website: https://www.turnitin.com
You can find instructions for submitting a Turnitin assignment on the Turnitin Help Center website.

Restrictions on ALL Turnitin submissions

The following restrictions apply to Turnitin submissions:

  • All submissions must be text-based. Scanned documents must be passed through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software prior to submission.
  • Turnitin accepts electronic files in the following formats. No other file types are accepted:
    • MS Word (.doc/.docx)
    • WordPerfect (.wpd)
    • Rich Text (.rtf)
    • Portable Document Format (.pdf)
    • PostScript (.eps), HTML (.htm), and
    • plain text (.txt) format.
If you need to submit file types not listed above, convert it to a PDF first.
  • You can cut and paste files from other word processing programs into the Turnitin submit paper page.
  • Only one file per student can exist for each assignment.
  • The file size limit for text files is 20MB.

As soon as you submit your assignment, Turnitin will display a digital receipt on the screen—if it doesn't, your assignment has not been successfully submitted. Turnitin will also email you a submission receipt.

Other settings may apply

Assignment settings determine whether you can:

  • make multiple submissions during a specified period, or only one submission
  • receive, if multiple submissions are possible, an originality report every time you submit, or only once
  • view the originality reports generated when OriginalityCheck checks your assignment against its databases.

Individual course conveners or your School policy determine these settings. If you have any questions about how OriginalityCheck is being used in your course, ask your course convener.

Originality Reports

An Originality Report will be generated within 10 minutes of an initial submission to an assignment. A report for a re-submission to an assignment can take up to 24 hours to generate.

While an Originality Report is being generated, in the Turnitin assignment's page the relevant icon in the Originality Report column will display greyed out. It will remain greyed out if your instructor has decided not to allow students to view the reports.

24-hour reporting delay on re-submitted assignments

Your instructor may set up the assignment so that you can amend and then re-submit it based on your Turnitin report or other feedback. Be aware that you will not be able to see your new originality report until 24 hours after you submitted your first draft.

Put your revised draft through OriginalityCheck at least 24 hours before the coursework deadline if you want to see an originality report before you submit your final version, or if you're required to submit an originality report with your assignment.

Citations and references

Turnitin picks up even correctly cited quotations and bibliography items and reports them as matched with other documents in the Turnitin database. This is because:

  • the journals, articles and texts you quoted or referred to may be in the database, and/or
  • assignments submitted by other students may have quoted from, or cited, the same reference works as you did.

These parts of your assignment will generate match percentages, which increases your assignment's overall similarity rating.

Don't be alarmed by this. Your teachers don't just accept the percentage Turnitin gives to an assignment. They check the reports and interpret the results.

Filter them out

If you want to, you can ask OriginalityCheck to ignore quotations, references and bibliography items in your assignment when reporting on its originality. You can find the instructions for doing so on this Turnitin support page (scroll down to Excluding Quoted or Bibliographic Material).

You'll have to switch the filter on every time you run a report—you can't set it to stay on and be applied automatically to each assignment.

Even with the filter turned on, Turnitin will still find some matches. When your teachers review the originality report, they will see that the matches are only for legitimate quotations and references.

Sample Originality Report

The following graphic shows an annotated sample Originality Report that Turnitin generates from a submission.

Turnitin submissions and security

  • Student papers are submitted to the Turnitin database and remain in the database for an undisclosed period.
  • Turnitin stores your document both in its original form and in an "electronic fingerprint" form.
    • The original form of the document is only available to you as the original author and to the lecturer of the course to which you submit the document.
    • Turnitin checks other submitted documents against the electronic fingerprint of your submission.
  • Neither UNSW nor Turnitin administration staff are able to view your submitted assignments.
  • Papers may be used to determine whether other individuals have engaged in academic misconduct. This may occur for as long as the papers remain in the Turnitin database.
  • If another document is subsequently submitted to Turnitin and matches text in one of your assignments, the lecturer responsible for the new document will only be provided with the following information:
    • the name of the institution from which the matching assignment originated
    • the course name that the matching assignment was submitted to
    • the name and email address of the lecturer responsible for that course
    • the file name of the matching assignment
    • the date the matching assignment was submitted.
    This lecturer may email your own lecturer, and request their permission to view a copy of your assignment. UNSW lecturers are advised not to disclose authorship details to any person who makes this request.
On any assignment that you submit through Turnitin, for your own privacy do not identify yourself other than by your student ID number.

Unable to submit your assignment?

There are a number of reasons why you may be unable to submit an assignment to your course's Turnitin Submission box, each with a recommended course of action.

  • Your submission is late (outside advised submission dates) and the submission box may be configured to disallow late submissions
    • This is not a technical issue and you will need to contact your teaching staff for advice.
  • Your submission is on time (within advised submission dates) but the submission box may be configured with incorrect submission dates
    • This is not a technical issue but instead a misconfiguration, you will need to contact your teaching staff who can set the correct dates. Note this will affect all students, so they may already know and/or in the process of resolving it.
  • Turnitin may be unable to accept your submission as it may be saved as an unsupported file type or file size
    • Generally you will be fine if you ensure your submission is text and saved as a PDF file under 20 Mb's in size. For more information please review the Restrictions on ALL Turnitin submissions section above.
  • Uploading an assignment to Turnitin may fail if your web browser/computer does not meet the minimum system requirements
    • In an urgent situation, try using an alternate web browser and/or computer to make the submission. If this fails please contact External TELT Support for technical support on 02 9385 3331.
    • To ensure your computer meets the minimum system requirements please see Moodle System Requirements
  • The Turnitin service may be temporarily unavailable due to planned/unplanned system outages
    • Planned system outages (rarely within standard business hours) are normally posted ahead of time within the Moodle homepage.
    • Unplanned system outages are typically short and resolved within a few minutes/hours.
    • If an outage affects your ability to submit the assignment prior to the submission deadline, please advise your teaching staff as soon as possible. We recommend providing a copy of your assignment via another medium (eg. email) before the submission time is reached.

We highly recommend submitting assignments early where possible, because if you run into a technical or administrative issue this will allow you the time to have it resolved. This is especially true when submitting from a new location/computer. In some cases your teaching staff may even prepare a dummy submission box to allow you to submit test assignments.

If you are unable to submit your assignment and have tried the previously recommended solutions without success, contact your teaching staff as soon as possible. Make sure that you explain the situation and provide a copy of your submission before the submission deadline is reached. This will allow your teaching staff to know that your assignment received no additional editing after the deadline, avoiding penalties. 

Further help guides

If you have any questions about how Turnitin is being used in your course, ask your lecturer or course convener.

For information on academic integrity issues and UNSW plagiarism policy, see Plagiarism.

Additional information to support you in becoming a better writer is available from Plagiarism.org and the WriteCheck Writing Centre.

For further instructions go to the following pages on the Turnitin website:

Contacts for Tech Support

Email: externalteltsupport@unsw.edu.au
Phone: (+61 2) 9385 3331

Related tags: IT and eLearning