The copyright debate rages on among students and educators, with many arguing that it is a violation of a student’s right to fair use. Similarly, others argue that it helps ensure the integrity of writing and learning.
How do teachers or students who use Turnitin really feel about the growing controversy? Is it an infringement on a student’s academic freedom or a tool that helps instill rigor in young learners? Besides, how do you write other people’s content, and how does Turnitin detect paraphrasing?
This guide carries answers for you.
Turnitin detects light paraphrasing by matching the use of synonyms with the related words in the original text or in the text in its repository. If you paraphrase lightly, Turnitin will note similarity by matching words of your text with those on the internet or its database. However, this is not always common.
Paraphrasing is difficult for computers to detect because it involves changing both the words and the order of sentences in a passage, not just replacing synonyms.
However, Turnitin can catch paraphrasing that does not reword a passage sufficiently.
Paraphrasing implies that one is only rewriting similar information in a different way. It is when the sentence structure or word choice changes.
It is an approach that helps one to integrate the same ideas in an essay. Such an activity includes using synonyms and breaking the sentence structure.
However, if you are not careful, technology will catch you up. If you have to do then let it be sparingly. We can discover how Turnitin detects paraphrasing in the following section.
Turnitin uses algorithms such as those used by search engines to find matching phrases, sentences, and words. The algorithm checks for matching text and reviews if the author paraphrased the text. Turnitin would consider paraphrasing plagiarism unless the author referenced it.
Besides, it uses machine learning technologies to compare student submissions with an extensive database of other works (e.g., online content, student papers, and professional journal articles/books) in order to identify potential instances of plagiarism or paraphrasing.
In addition, Turnitin uses a proprietary set of algorithms to perform its matching. These algorithms all operate on the same principle: comparing the features of a submitted document to all of the other documents in Turnitin’s databases.
Turnitin will then return a list of documents that share these features with the submitted document and provide a similarity score based on the number and extent of those matches. The more extensive the similarities, the higher the similarity score will be.
Furthermore, Turnitin uses a similarity detection engine that compares student work to other text sources. Suppose a student copied or paraphrased part of another source into their own essay.
In that case, Turnitin will identify this similarity and give it a score based on how much of the student’s work matches the original source.
These scores appear as percentages, and you can use them to gauge how much of an essay quoted or paraphrased material.
Turnitin gives all reported sources from which similarities that are available a score, and there are three possible scores:
Source type: A, B, or C
Turnitin cannot detect spinning bots like Quilbot because it cannot match spun content. In fact, Turnitin barely detects any rewritten content because the words are precisely the same. This is because spinners like Quilbot or Spinbot turn any sentence into a unique text, and they check to confirm the lack of plagiarism.
In addition, some of these spinning tools come with an in-built plagiarism checker that detects all kinds of unoriginal content and displays their percentage in the report.
It is enough just to copy-paste the text within the particular field. Then click on the ‘check for plagiarism’ button.
The system will do everything by itself and will show the final result with a list of copied sentences.
The software has an integrated dictionary and thesaurus that provides suggestions for synonyms and corrects spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and misused phrases.
The tool additionally highlights phrases that need rephrasing to ensure you do not unintentionally turn into a plagiarist, or your text will not be treated as such by Turnitin.
That said, there are certain things you can do to minimize the chances of your spun text being in focus as plagiarized. Not to mention, this is not an exact science, and there is no guarantee that it will work 100% of the time.
Here’s what you need to know:
If you spin at word level or sentence level, most of the time, it will be very difficult for a human to read what you are submitting – and teachers are humans.
Even though they might not be able to figure out that your text that one spun, they will notice that it is garbage and flag it as such. Also, remember, the use of paraphrasing tools is basically cheating and should be discouraged.
Do not use too many synonyms for each word or sentence
When you are spinning manually, then you should regulate the number of synonyms that you will use. However, be keen because in most cases, paraphrasing is plagiarism as it does not generate anything unique.
Turnitin cannot detect handwriting because it only detects typed text. Therefore, if you handwrite your work, then it will be unable to detect any form of plagiarism. But unless you have a valid reason for writing by hand, typing your paper will ensure that the software does not flag it for plagiarism.
Turnitin does not automatically check handwritten work. If a student submits a handwritten piece of work, it does not require any processing by Turnitin. It can, however, undergo any review by an instructor for Originality manually.
The Turnitin plagiarism checker does not detect handwritten text. It only works with typed work. It compares your document against billions of web pages and millions of published works, including student papers, journals, and books. More importantly, this means it can recognize when you have paraphrased or copied information from any source.
However, your professor can still detect plagiarism in your handwritten paper if he compares it with another text. Also, Turnitin can detect handwritten plagiarism if a teacher can still scan it into the computer and submit it to Turnitin. The program will then compare it with other documents on the internet, and your teacher will find out if you cheated or not.
That said, the software does have a handwriting recognition feature that allows you to type your handwritten notes into the program.
There are ways of detecting handwriting. If you are a professor or teacher, you can use Turnitin to scan for plagiarism/paraphrase in student essays.
However, this program cannot detect whether a student wrote an article on their own or with the help of someone else.
More importantly, Turnitin can detect handwritten work in the same way that it detects plagiarism in typed work.
It works by comparing the words and phrases used in a submitted assignment with information from a wide range of sources, including:
So before you buy or copy a paper online, make sure that it is not already on the internet and paraphrase. Your teacher might even find out if you are using a commercial essay-writing service because they have databases where they store all of the papers they sell.
Turnitin will not detect handwriting. However, if your teacher requires you to submit your assignment on Turnitin, you can use OCR software like OmniPage or SimpleOCR to convert your handwriting into text.
In other cases, if you submit an image file, Turnitin will extract text from your paper using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). The result depends on the clarity of your photo or scan and whether it contains tables, mathematical symbols, or code.
The problem is that Turnitin scans web pages and extracts text from there. Here, Turnitin will skip images. But if some website has a photo of your handwritten paper without any text in it, Turnitin will find it for sure and add it to its database.