Information Services

Advice for staff

Using Turnitin to support assessment practices

Your students can access Turnitin only if you make it available to them.

The University of Edinburgh uses Turnitin’s Feedback Studio. This comprises two services:

  • similarity checker

  • marking and feedback interface

There is an additional tool, PeerMark, which enables you to set up peer marking and feedback. Further details can be found on the Using PeerMark page:

Using PeerMark

Similarity checking

The similarity checker compares submitted student work against extensive databases of websites, academic reference materials and previously submitted work, to produce a similarity score and a similarity report.

Staff and students should understand that similarity reports do not say whether plagiarism has taken place; the report simply highlights sections of the submitted text that match other sources. It remains an academic decision as to what the similarity means and what happens as a consequence. For guidance on similarity reports see the Help and support page:

Help and support

Requests from other instititions to see student work (due to a similarity match)

You may receive an email asking that you send a copy of your student's work to another institution, as it is cited in a similarity report generated by them. It is wise to remember that firstly, the student's work belongs to them; secondly, no one needs your student's work in order to investigate a case of similarity; hence, there is no need to comply with this request and you may ignore it.

Marking and feedback interface

This allows staff to view the similarity report and see exact details of any matching text and its source. It also allows staff to mark work and apply feedback, including the ability to create and use sets of feedback comments (Quick Marks), and apply marking rubrics. For help with marking and feedback, see the Help and support page:

Help and support

Using Turnitin with students

We urge staff, where appropriate, to allow students to use Turnitin to review drafts of their work and the associated similarity report, before final submission, as part of the practice of learning good writing and referencing practice. To enable this, staff should both select that draft work does not go into the Turnitin database and also that students know how to interpret a similarity report. 

Informing your students

It is important that you inform your students that the similarity checking service is being used when they submit work for assessment and that they know whether or not their work will be retained in a Turnitin database. For more information see:

Sample statement for students (159kB PDF)

In 2005, the College Academic Misconduct Officers decided that assignments will be submitted with a coversheet which asks students to verify that their work is original and in no way plagiarised. At the foot of the coversheet should be information about the use of Turnitin.

Further help and support

A range of resources on how to use Turnitin are available on our Help and support page:

Help and support

Further issues

If you have any issues using Turnitin, contact the IS Helpline with as much detail possible (e.g. browser, platform, course):

Contact IS Helpline