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Plagiarism Detection Tools

​​​Turnitin.com  is available to DePaul faculty to verify the originality of students' work. The technology is based on prior submissions to Turnitin as well as public sources against which a student's current submission is compared. After comparison, Turnitin generates a report on the probability of plagiarism, though the initial determination of whether the work constitutes a violation of DePaul's Academic Integrity Policy is made by the course instructor.

Accessing TurnItIn

You can use Turnitin either by enabling it in D2L's Submissions or setting up an account independent of D2L. To request an external account or if you have any questions about how to use TurnItIn, please email fits@depaul.edu.

Interpreting the Results from TurnItIn

When a paper is evaluated, Turnitin provides an originality report which identifies text in the evaluated project or paper that is similar or identical to text in its database. Faculty must evaluate the quality of the report independently and determine if the parts identified by Turnitin are actually plagiarized .

As all matches are shown, even those cited properly by the student will appear in the originality report. As a result, faculty must scrutinize the Turnitin report, the student's work, and follow University policy before approaching a student about any possible plagiarism. If the faculty member suspects plagiarism for a work reported by Turnitin as "original," the faculty member should investigate further since the work may have been copied but not yet included in the database.

In the report, sources are listed by the first occurrence of the match in the database, which may not follow the source citation that the student used in his/her paper. Therefore, if the material the student has used is found in many places on the Web, the student's citation may be correct even though it doesn't match the source found by Turnitin.

Remember: If you uncover a violation and impose a sanction of any kind, you will need to report it in Campus Connection.

Measure of Software Similarity (MOSS)

Faculty members who assign students work involving software code might find assistance in detecting violations using MOSS (Measure Of Software Similarity).

  • MOSS is a free service hosted by Stanford University. Faculty submit a set of software source code files turned in by students for a particular programming assignment and the MOSS server produces web pages listing pairs of programs with similar code.
  • MOSS also highlights individual passages in programs that appear the same, making it easy to quickly compare the files.
  • Finally, MOSS can automatically ignore matches on the parts of the assignments that one expects to be shared (e.g., software libraries or instructor-supplied code), thereby eliminating false positives that arise from legitimate sharing.
  • To obtain a Moss account, send a mail message to moss@moss.stanford.edu. The body of the message should appear exactly as follows: 

    mail username@domain

    where username@domain is your email address.

Students conversing in a classroom.

Responding to Plagiarism

Approaching plagiarism as an opportunity for teaching and learning, rather than exclusively focusing on detection and punishment, has significant benefits for both students and educators.

Learn More