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Highly Unoriginal Submissions
Years of Usage
Submissions Graded Online
Matches to Other Student Papers
Though the first few years of usage saw some slight increases of unoriginal content, higher education institutions in Germany show a strong, overall trend of decline. There are several possible reasons for this. For example, it may be that institutions needed time to adjust to using Turnitin or to implement policies on academic integrity that accommodated the adoption of Turnitin. It may also have been the case that schools began using Turnitin selectively- only to check suspected cases of plagiarism- but eventually submitted papers for larger groups of students.
Higher education institutions in Switzerland showed a precipitous decline in unoriginal content, followed by years of usage where the reduction wavered between -36 percent and -50 percent. Overall, this a very strong reduction. The subsequent variances may have been affected by any of a number of factors, such as the percentage of the full student population’s papers that were submitted to Turnitin, or the changes in student’s attitudes and behaviors regarding integrity.
This section describes Turnitin's methodology for analyzing the levels of highly unoriginal writing found in the total pool of submitted papers, including what types of customers were studied, the data that was analyzed, and how the findings have been calculated and presented.
To provide comparable measurement between institutions and to produce accurate results, this study aligned customers based on years of use (e.g., First Year, Second Year, Third Year), rather than the calendar year in which they began using the service. For example, if Institution A began using Turnitin in 2012, it would have two years of usage (2013, 2014), and if Institution B began using Turnitin in 2010, it would have four years of usage. Additionally, to provide adequate sample sizes and to protect the privacy of our customers, this study reports the years of usage up to the final year which includes 5 or more institutions; for example, if Year 5 includes 10 schools and Year 6 contains only 4, this report will not include Year 6.
Institutions that subscribe to Turnitin in a given year do not necessarily generate meaningful usage information in the first year under license. In particular, Turnitin deployments at larger institutions are often part of broader initiatives to change academic integrity policies, adopt a new learning management system, or support professional development and training.
To control for this, the study considers the “true usage start year” as: 1) the first year the customer used Turnitin for a full calendar year, and 2) the first year that reflects a minimum of 9% of total lifetime submissions by the institution.
After accounts were aligned based on years of true usage, a sum of all submissions for all institutions in a particular geography was generated, as well as a sum of "highly unoriginal papers", which are defined as papers with more than 50% unoriginal content for the first year of usage. By dividing the sum of 50-100% unoriginal papers into the total submissions, we arrive at a percentage of "highly unoriginal" papers. We used this same formula to calculate the level of unoriginal writing for each year of usage and compared it to the first year of usage to measure the change in highly unoriginal papers over time.