To ensure the most effective use of Turnitin, it is essential that staff members engage with the system appropriately.
Each School should nominate a Turnitin contact to support and help to standardise its Turnitin activity. This person may be an academic or administrative member of staff and should understand the detail of the QMUL Turnitin policy as well as how Turnitin works. If the Turnitin contact is an academic and resources allow, they may also help to provide consistent judgement within a school on what is and isn’t plagiarism and advise on which cases should be referred on to the Head of School.
The decision on whether there is a plagiarism case to answer must be taken by an academic member of staff. This is often the module lead themselves or a dedicated academic offences officer. Whilst administrative staff can help in the initial scanning to identify those reports that need closer consideration, any meaningful interpretation of a report requires subject knowledge and academic judgement.
Administrative staff within a school can take part in all aspects of managing and processing Turnitin data and submissions, but should not interpret an originality report for plagiarism. A report may be scanned initially by a member of administrative staff to determine whether matched text is restricted to references, quotations and known data tables. If after this initial scan there is minimal matched text, then there may be no need for further interpretation by an academic.
Whatever policies are adopted for managing Turnitin within a school, markers must remain aware that their role in identifying potential plagiarism as they read student work is unchanged.
In this video, QMUL staff describe the issues involved in interpreting a Turnitin originality report.
Interpreting the originality report – this guide explains what a Turnitin originality report looks like and how to interpret it.
Excluding references and quotations from Turnitin reports – Turnitin assignments can be set up to exclude references or quotations. This can potentially help to filter out some of the “noise” created in a Turnitin originality report and reduces the workload in interpreting it.