Answered By: Jonathan Faerber (he/him/his)
Last Updated: Jan 14, 2023     Views: 18

Text-matching software programs like Turnitin compare uploaded submissions with existing publications or other submissions contained in the program’s database. By comparing texts, the programs can identify similarities between uploaded submissions, such as your essay, with information in a content database, such as academic journal articles. For example, Turnitin can match a quotation in your essay with the source it came from as long as the source is included in the Turnitin database. This is helpful information to have when checking your own paper for cases of plagiarism, such as uncited or unquoted text from your sources.

Notably, while Turnitin can compare text in your paper against other sources, it cannot suggest changes to your document, correct APA Style errors, or determine when similarities to sources are acceptable. For example, Turnitin might help you see significant similarities between a paraphrase and the original material from the paraphrased source, but it won't determine whether or not you've plagiarized the source nor will it suggest a better way to paraphrase material. Instead, as the author of any document you write, you are the best source of information on where you have cited sources appropriately as well as where you may have plagiarized sources.

For information on how to upload assignments and view feedback from Turnitin, see:

Student Quick Start Guide

Accessing your Similarity Report

For help understanding feedback from Turnitin and similar programs, see:

Checking Your Work for Plagiarism

For information on quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing as well as APA Style, see:

Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing

APA Style (7th ed.)

And for help understanding and applying academic integrity requirements at Royal Roads University to your assignments, see:


Academic Integrity Checklist