How to Use Turnitin

Basic Information

Georgetown has a license with Turnitin, a Canvas-integrated service that, among other things, is able to detect possible plagiarism in student work. Once faculty members have set up Turnitin assignments in Canvas, Turnitin automatically searches submitted essays for passages found on the Internet (including pages no longer online), in the ProQuest Research Library, and in all papers previously submitted by users at any member school.

The Honor Council highly recommends that faculty members make regular use of this service. We believe that when applied to all essays submitted in a class, this technology can be a powerful tool to educate and to deter. There are additional features and tools Turnitin has developed regarding grading, peer review, etc. Faculty are encouraged to explore all the Turnitin features.

How to Get Started

Turnitin can only be used within Canvas, where faculty can set up paper submissions to automatically be vetted by Turnitin.  For instructions on using Turnitin in Canvas, see

Suggestions for Using

  1. For fairness reasons, the Honor Council recommends that faculty using Turnitin should submit all students’ papers in a course instead of only problematic papers.
  2. An important part of Georgetown University’s agreement with Turnitin is that the syllabus for each course intending to use Turnitin should carry a notice to students substantially similar to the following:
    • Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for a Textual Similarity Review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be added as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers in the future. Use of the service is subject to the terms of use agreement posted on the site.
  3. Turnitin’s Originality reports are only the means for detecting textual similarities between compared works and do not determine conclusively the existence of plagiarism. When similarities are found in a paper, faculty must check the student’s paper to ascertain whether such textual similarities are properly referenced.
  4. An Originality Report is a confidential document, and any disclosure by the faculty member or the Honor Council to any third party is at the Institution’s own risk.
  5. All papers submitted to Turnitin by Georgetown University and/or its instructors and students shall be retained in the source database solely for the purpose of using such papers as source material to prevent plagiarism of such papers, except as expressly authorized by students and/or instructors. The agreement will let the University “take down” any paper from the database if so requested by a student or faculty member. Students and faculty need to provide the paper number(s) to EdTech for each paper that they want removed. Note that removal of papers could decrease the usefulness of the database in the future.

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