Using TurnItIn and Avoiding Plagiarism

As a student, it is inevitable that you will be writing papers in your courses and it will be important to not only use scholarly, peer-reviewed sources, but to also make sure that you are appropriately citing those sources in your writing. Part of the writing process will be to understand what plagiarism is and how you can avoid it. 

CSU Global defines plagiarism as "the adoption or reproduction of ideas, words, or statements of another person as one's own either knowingly, carelessly, or without acknowledgment."  Plagiarism is typically identified through an online tool that we use called TurnItIn, which detects plagiarized material in submitted assignments and provides an “originality report” that shows the percentage of quoted material. Students’ similarity score is expected to be 30% or less, with no more than 20% of the paper containing quoted material.

To help you avoid plagiarism, the CSU Global Writing Center (located on the left hand side menu of your student portal) has extensive resources and templates for assignments as well as Writing Center coaches. Students are expected to follow the APA 7 guidelines for formatting and citations. 

To ensure that your assignments meet our originality standards, you should submit a draft of your assignment to review the originality report and revise as needed prior to submitting the final assignment for a grade. 

Before you submit any assignment for grading, it's strongly recommended that you check the similarity score of your assignment using the Turnitin originality report. This report can be found within each assignment you submit in a course, with the exception of your discussion assignments.

Let's take a look at how to do this. Save your assignment with the word "draft" in the file name. Go to the assignment details section. Select the Start Assignment option. Choose Upload File, and then select the draft from its saved location on your computer. Once your file has uploaded, make the note "draft" in the comments section. Check the user agreement box. And then select the Submit Assignment button.

A link to the Turnitin report is available in the assignment submission details page within a few minutes. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary if tweaks are needed. The report will ensure your assignment is within the accepted 30% similarity percentage and that you have not missed any opportunities to credit your sources.

Once your assignment has a similarity score of 30% or less, you can update the file name to say "final." And make a note in the comments section that also says "final”. This will signal to your instructor that you are now ready to have the assignment reviewed for grading. 

You can find the full plagiarism policy through the University Policies page. It is located in the Student Rights Policies section. The CSU Global Student Help Center also has helpful information on submitting weekly assignments in Canvas. Take a few minutes to look through the information in the“Submitting Assignments”and “Classroom Behavior” articles and don’t forget about all of the resources available in the Writing Center to support you and your writing!