Literature Foundation 2010


Using Turnitin


1. WriteCheck

The Department is, for the first time, using a plagiarism checker to check all assessed essays in this module. It is worth knowing that the Turnitin people also offer a service to students, called WriteCheck. This allows you to submit your essay to be checked for plagiarism, using the same database that Turnitin uses; WriteCheck will return a report on your essay to you, which I assume will be identical to the report that Turnitin would return; if that shows that you have inadvertently plagiarised, you can correct the problem. WriteCheck is here. It costs, but not very much: at the moment, $4.95 for up to 5,000 words.

There's an interesting corollary to this. In the Essay Checklist I suggested that you might use one of the free online plagiarism detectors for this. According to WriteCheck, this is not a good idea. They say that these free online checkers are simply devices for harvesting your essay, which they can then sell to someone else. Oops. In recommending them I had underestimated the ingenuity of human wickedness.

WriteCheck also says that it does not itself do this. Actually, I believe them: WriteCheck is part of Turnitin, and Turnitin is big business; if it were found to be profiting from plagiarism, that business would instantly disappear.

2. Formats

Turnitin will only accept a limited range of formats. If you use Word, no problem. But if you use the Mac program Pages, or the cut down version of Word (called Microsoft Works) that produces .wps files, you need to convert them to an acceptable format. If you don't know how to do that, do get in touch and I'll tell you.




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