Top 7 Things to Know About Turnitin

July 30, 2023

9 min read

Turnitin is an up-and-coming generative AI detection software.

If you’re a student, you’ve probably heard about Turnitin: a software that can detect generative AI content in submitted work. 

But if you’re not familiar with this popular plagiarism checker, don’t fret — we’ll give you a complete rundown on this impressive AI tool.

Learn all about Turnitin, including why it was created, how it works, and if it can detect language models like ChatGPT.  

What Is Turnitin?

Turnitin is a plagiarism checker that detects unoriginal text in students’ work. 

Since the popularity of generative AI has skyrocketed, Turnitin emerged as a solution for AI-generated plagiarism.

Why was Turnitin created?

Experts created Turnitin in part to address the increase in plagiarism due to the capabilities of emerging generative AI. Generative AI is a specific type of artificial intelligence that makes new content

AI is still relatively “new” to the general public, but many students already use AI — whether that’s for personal, academic, or professional use — on the daily. However, a large number of academic institutions consider AI a threat when it comes to original student work. 

Because generative AI is an emerging industry in its infancy, it’s hard to predict how it’ll affect the academic landscape. Still, most experts agree that generative AI has the capability to be a significant danger to academic integrity. 

For example, AI apps can be leveraged by students to produce text, such as a history paper, for students to then claim as their own. 

What apps use generative AI?

There are plenty of apps that use generative AI. Here are five examples of apps that — like Turnitin — use generative AI.

1. ChatGPT

ChatGPT is probably the most notorious generative AI tool. Over over 100 million people use it. It was even featured on a recent episode of “South Park” — a sure sign of generative AI as a pop culture phenomenon as well. 

In a nutshell, ChatGPT uses AI technology to produce text responses to prompts. Its responses are based on not only past conversations with the user, but also general context. 

2. Yoodli

Yoodli is another type of app that uses generative AI. This app is an AI-powered speech coach that aims to help users improve their speech. Yoodli analyzes a video of a person speaking — whether they’re practicing for an upcoming interview or a speech for school — and highlights areas of improvement. 

For example, if you use Yoodli to practice for an upcoming interview, its generative AI capabilities allow Yoodli to ask the user follow-up questions in real time. What’s more, these follow-up questions are actually based on the person’s previous answers. 

Yoodli also uses this type of AI in its conversation coach function, too.

To learn more about Yoodli and its capabilities, try out this free app or check out the video below to learn more about it. 

Like TurnItIn, Yoodli also relies on generative AI for its conversation, presentation, and speech coaching.

3. WOMBO Dream

While the others on our list are pretty text-based, WOMBO Dream is an AI app that produces striking visual images based on a user’s text prompt. 

You can create stunning digital art designed in a plethora of different styles, from realistic to watercolor to abstract and simplistic. The images come in a variety of sizes, too. 

4. Bard

Google created Bard, an AI app similar to ChatGPT in that it’s a text-based AI conversation software. In terms of what it can do, Bard is like a sister to ChatGPT. 

However, they do differ in one key way. While Bard gets its data from the internet, ChatGPT was trained on a limited dataset. 

5. DALL-E 2

DALL-E 2 is yet another up-and-coming generative AI app. This app is similar to WOMBO Dream in that it produces AI images based on a text prompt. Users can make images and then save, download, share, edit, or even create more variations of the same prompt. 

Created by OpenAI, millions of people use DALL-E 2. Not surprisingly, its popularity only seems to be increasing. 

How Does Turnitin Work?

Turnitin works by analyzing someone’s work — usually the work of a student — to see if there’s matching text. Matching text would suggest that there’s unoriginal, plagiarized writing.

The plagiarism software works by comparing the student’s work to an existing massive database. The database is full of not only other students’ work, but also published work and other resources available on the Internet. 

Typically, a student’s teacher or professor sets up Turnitin. After the software has checked over the work, the teacher or professor can also evaluate the students’ work. 

When a person submits their work, Turnitin gives them two main insights: a similarity index and an originality report. The similarity index shows users the percentage of the work that matches outside resources. 

On the other hand, the originality report analyzes the potential matches in-depth. The report includes any specific sources identified by the app. These could include:

  • Books
  • Articles
  • Websites
  • Journals
  • Previously submitted work via Turnitin

This helps academic instructors (and students) better evaluate the work as a whole, especially its originality. 

Why do people use Turnitin?

People use Turnitin for a variety of reasons, but it usually boils down to detecting non-original work (AKA, plagiarism). 

Usually, people use this app to: 

  • Produce reports to collect instances of plagiarism 
  • Discourage students from cheating or plagiarizing 
  • Allow students to review their own work by eliminating any potential instances of plagiarism

7 Things to Know About Turnitin

Because Turnitin is still relatively new to the academic scene, teachers, students, and other people who are interested in this program have questions about it. So, if you’re still learning about this app, you’re not alone.

Here are seven things to know about Turnitin.

1. Can Turnitin detect ChatGPT?

One of the top questions people have about Turnitin is can it detect ChatGPT use? Long story short, it absolutely can identify ChatGPT content (and will). 

In fact, Turnitin can recognize content generated by ChatGPT with a whopping 98% accuracy. That’s why it’s always best to create and submit original work as opposed to using a generative AI tool like ChatGPT. 

2. What schools use Turnitin?

Many schools across the globe use Turnitin. In fact, in the United Kingdom, this software is utilized in an impressive 98% of universities, primarily to help with feedback and grading, and of course, to make sure all the work submitted is original. 

It’s also used in colleges across the United States, including schools like:

  • Cornell University 
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of North Texas
  • Baylor University 
  • University of Florida
  • And many other large public universities

3. Does Turnitin identify plagiarism? 

In terms of identifying instances of plagiarism, there’s a common misconception. Turnitin doesn’t specifically point out plagiarism. On the contrary, this software gives users a report that shows areas where unoriginality is likely. 

Because of this, reports should always be evaluated in detail by the student and/or the professor.

4. Is Turnitin free?

Turnitin isn’t technically free — it costs money to subscribe and use its services. However, if you’re a student, you likely won’t have to pay for a subscription. Instead, the university or professor pays for Turnitin while students can use it for “free.”

Still, Turnitin offers a free trial for 60 days for those interested. The free trial includes your own teacher account, a hundred student accounts, and access to all Revision Assistant prompts and resources. 

5. Does Turnitin detect Grammarly paraphrasing?

In order to make their work more original, many students use tools like Grammarly to paraphrase parts of their work. Grammarly can check for spelling, grammar, and cohesiveness, among other aspects of a person’s work. As such, students often worry that Turnitin will flag their work simply because they used Grammarly. 

Luckily, that isn’t the case. The Turnitin software hasn’t been trained on Grammarly’s specific grammar, punctuation, and spelling edits. Instead, Turnitin evaluates work for AI content created by large language models (LLMs). As mentioned above, this includes ChatGPT. 

6. Is 14% good on Turnitin?

With the way Turnitin works, the user analyzing a student’s work will receive a score in the form of a percentage. The percent is linked to the likelihood of matching text

For example, if a work receives a score of 14%, it’s not likely that the student plagiarized. However, anything over 25% is considered a high score, suggesting plagiarism did take place. 

7. Does Turnitin save your work?

One thing users should know about Turnitin is that the software saves your work in a massive database. Turnitin stores your work here in order to evaluate it against all future submissions. 

However, the person who created the work that was submitted still owns the intellectual property and the copyright.

Turnitin Alternatives

There are also Turnitin alternatives if you’re looking for a similar tool to use. Here are a few worthy Turnitin alternatives to check out. 

Plagiarism Checker X

One such tool is Plagiarism Checker X. With this software, a user can search for similar or identical text across 16 billion indexed pages in search engines like Google. You’ll get a report with details regarding duplication and plagiarism. 

Unlike Turnitin, assignments and documents aren’t stored online as you don’t need to upload your content to Plagiarism Checker X. This is a big reason that teachers, students, bloggers, and writers prefer this Turnitin alternative. 

Grammarly Business

Grammarly Business is another popular choice. Compared to Turnitin, people report that Grammarly Business is easier to use overall, including the initial set-up and admin capabilities. 

Like Turnitin, it can check your content for any potential instances of plagiarism. In addition to that, it can also evaluate your grammar, spelling, punctuation, tone, flow, and a whole host of other metrics. 

PlagiarismCheck.org

This resource, like Turnitin, finds similarities or duplicative, plagiarized information within content. Similar to Grammarly Business, PlagiarismCheck.org also checks for spelling and grammar errors so the user can make sure their work is shipshape. Not only that, but it supports more than 15 different languages, which is very convenient. 

People also say that PlagiarismCheck.org has a better, more accessible support team than Turnitin. 

Unicheck 

Unicheck uses AI technology to evaluate a piece of work for plagiarism, just like Turnitin. Like PlagiarismCheck.org, it also offers services in more than just English. 

Unicheck supports languages like: 

  • Danish
  • Ukrainian
  • German
  • Turkish
  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Russian
  • Portuguese

Unicheck can also integrate into learning management systems if needed. 

PlagScan

This plagiarism checker pairs the work in question against tons of documents and websites to identify questionable areas. It’s easy to navigate and helps to guarantee the authenticity of a student’s work. 

Like Turnitin, PlagScan stores assignments to be checked against future submissions. It comes highly recommended as a Turnitin alternative, and users rave about the ease of use of this particular tool.

The Key Takeaway

Turnitin is a powerful plagiarism checking tool that helps users recognize instances of plagiarism and unoriginality in their work. Whether you’re a teacher, a student, or just someone who likes to make sure their work is original, Turnitin is a worthy program to use. 

With the influx of other generative AI apps such as Yoodli, the capacity for AI is only increasing. 

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