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13 Common Myths About Turnitin Feedback Studio

Christine Lee
Christine Lee
Content Manager

There are many misconceptions and myths about Turnitin Feedback Studio --here is a list of common myths, busted:

  • MYTH: You can get an individual Turnitin Feedback Studio account for your personal use.
    REALITY: Feedback Studio is not available for individual purchase. However, your instructor may allow unlimited submissions before an assignment due date so that you may check your papers for text similarity and original thinking before turning it in for a grade.

  • MYTH: If a teacher is using Turnitin Feedback Studio, it creates distrust because it means they think you’re automatically going to cheat.
    REALITY: We don’t see the use of Turnitin’s solutions as an indication of distrust between an instructor and student. Rather, we hope that the Similarity Score helps facilitate teaching moments about the importance of original writing, proper citation, and academic integrity. Ideally, these teaching moments are happening in classrooms regardless of if a plagiarism checker is used, but are made easier thanks to solutions like those from Turnitin.

  • MYTH: You lose your rights to your work when you submit through Turnitin Feedback Studio.
    REALITY: The rights to your work are always your own, whether or not your work is in the Turnitin content database. Turnitin offers students the ability to "opt out" of the database and provides institutions with the option of having an institutional database of student papers. Student papers may be removed only by request of the class instructor. Also, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously affirmed that Turnitin's archiving of work was not a copyright infringement because it falls within the fair use exception. Please see our Privacy and Security page for more information.

  • MYTH: Essay mills aren’t plagiarism--therefore, Turnitin Feedback Studio won’t catch essays written by a third party.
    REALITY: Using a third party to write your essays --whether an essay mill, a friend, or another source--is called contract cheating. And while essay mills aren’t technically engaging in plagiarism (though they are known to plagiarize their own essays), it is a form of cheating. Also: Turnitin offers a product called Turnitin Originality focused on helping institutions address contract cheating.

  • MYTH: You can bypass Turnitin Feedback Studio’s plagiarism check--aka “cheat Turnitin”--by substituting letters with look-alikes from another language.
    REALITY: Turnitin scans the entire content of the text--the software can now detect characters from different languages.

  • MYTH: You can bypass Turnitin Feedback Studio’s plagiarism check by making your paper an image.
    REALITY: While Feedback Studio cannot detect text within an image, the software can identify an inappropriate word count for the paper, and thus will flag your paper for potential plagiarism or inappropriate content.

  • MYTH: You can bypass Turnitin Feedback Studio’s plagiarism check by paraphrasing everything.
    REALITY: Turnitin Feedback Studio can identify turns of phrase and nuances and thus, flag text similarity even when another source is paraphrased.

  • MYTH: You can bypass Turnitin Feedback Studio’s plagiarism check by using synonyms.
    REALITY: Turnitin Feedback Studio can identify plagiarism despite the usage of synonyms.

  • MYTH: You can bypass Turnitin Feedback Studio’s plagiarism check by using macros.
    REALITY: Turnitin’s software strips macros and creates fresh copies, which are then scanned for plagiarism.

  • MYTH: If I get a low similarity score (for example, 1%), it means I absolutely did not plagiarize.
    REALITY: You can still have a 1% similarity score and have plagiarized, if that 1% is an exact duplication of words from another source without proper citation. Turnitin’s score relies on human judgment and instructor interpretation.

  • MYTH: A high similarity score (above 40%) automatically means I’ve plagiarized.
    REALITY: Turnitin’s score doesn’t determine whether or not you’ve plagiarized--it’s up to human judgment. The judgment is left up to the instructor.

  • MYTH: A 100% similarity score means you’ve plagiarized from the internet
    REALITY: A 100% similarity score could mean a number of things outside of having plagiarized off the internet. Some possibilities include someone else having copied your essay and submitted it into Turnitin Feedback Studio before you. It could mean you self-plagiarized. It could also mean the person who wrote your essay for you, plagiarized. Again, student papers are compared against content in the Turnitin database, and judgment of similarity scores is up to the instructor. Instructors must look at the Similarity Report to determine if there is a problem.

  • MYTH: Turnitin only does plagiarism checking.
    REALITY: Turnitin’s suite of software and tools has many functions outside of plagiarism checking. Feedback Studio, in addition to plagiarism checking, enables feedback and grading for students and instructors to deter and move past plagiarism . In order to address contract cheating , we offer Turnitin Originality . And finally, for STEM-focused grading at scale, Gradescope helps transform grading into learning.

Want to provide meaningful student feedback and deter plagiarism? Learn more about Feedback Studio .