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Plagiarism and Turnitin

Not sure what plagiarism is, or how to avoid it? Discover more about what you can do, and how NTU uses Turnitin text matching software.

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Plagiarism is defined by the New Oxford Shorter English Dictionary as "the taking and using as one's own ... the thoughts, writings and inventions of another". This can happen through copying, summarising or paraphrasing someone else's work or ideas, then not acknowledging the original author and passing the material off as your own independent work. Often this can be accidental (e.g. you've forgotten to reference something), but it can also be done deliberately.

The University takes plagiarism seriously, and it is classed as an academic irregularity. There are a number of different penalties which may be applied to plagiarism offences. The Student Handbook has a section on Academic Irregularities, which outlines the penalties and states that plagiarism includes:

'The incorporation of material derived from the work (published or unpublished) of another, by unacknowledged quotation, paraphrased imitation or other device in any work submitted for progression towards or for the completion of an award, which in any way suggests that it is the student's own original work. Such work may include printed material in textbooks, journals and material accessible electronically for example from web pages.'

Examples of plagiarism include:

  • The inclusion in a candidate’s work of material from another person’s work without the use of quotation marks and full acknowledgement of the source;
  • The summarising of another person’s work by simply changing words or altering the order of presentation, without full acknowledgement;
  • Self-plagiarism: students are not permitted to reuse work they have previously submitted, without proper reference and acknowledgement in the current assessment being submitted.

Penalties for plagiarism range from capped marks and zero marks to dismissal from the course and termination of studies.

Plagiarism Support

Plagiarism can be a difficult concept to understand; you can find interactive tutorials, quizzes and support materials in the Help section of NOW. These will help you understand more about it, recognise examples of plagiarism, and improve your academic writing so that you won't be accused of plagiarism, including:

The library can help you with your plagiarism questions - book an appointment, or come along to one of our workshops.


Turnitin is an online tool that enables staff and students to check documents for text matches against its database of papers, articles and web pages. When a piece of coursework is submitted to Turnitin, an Originality Report is generated which highlights where patterns of words match patterns in other documents.

NTU’s Policy on the use of text-matching software applies to all taught courses at undergraduate and master’s level. Within those courses, the policy applies only to assessments with a significant written element; it does not apply to practical assessments or exams. All students will be introduced to Turnitin through the NTU Plagiarism Online Resource, which covers:

  • How to upload to Turnitin;
  • How to interpret a Turnitin report;
  • How to use a Turnitin report to make improvements to work in progress and to identify skills gaps.

If you would like to know more about Turnitin, book an appointment, or come along to one of our workshops.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 848 2175