A Student’s View of Turnitin

The University of Phoenix uses Turnitin's plagiarism prevention tool in its Center for Writing Excellence. The software has guided me through a master’s program with the university and through the first courses of my doctorate degree. In the beginning of my master’s program, I used Turnitin to examine whether or not I was using too many quotes, or I was not paraphrasing well enough. As the program continued, I began to use it for checking my academic teams’ contributions. Once, at the eleventh hour of a project, I discovered that a teammate had copied and pasted his portion of the team project. I asked him review his contribution, paraphrase, and properly cite it, averting a possible low grade.

 The University of Phoenix’s Student Code of Academic Integrity cites violations as plagiarism, self-plagiarism, fabrication, unauthorized assistance, copyright infringement, misrepresentation, and collusion (University of Phoenix, n.d.). Plagiarism includes copying material verbatim without citation, paraphrasing without citation, using someone else’s work (including purchased work), and the absence of proper citation for data used in a submission (University of Phoenix, n.d.). Self-plagiarism includes work that has been previously turned-in for another class without citation. This violation surprised many of my classmates. Fabrication includes falsifying any information. Unauthorized assistance includes the use of work created by someone assisting the student, cheating, and a student using someone else to take an exam for him or her (University of Phoenix, n.d.). Copyright infringement includes the use of copyrighted material without permission, and misrepresentation includes lying to justify a missed or late assignment. Finally, collusion includes aiding or allowing another student to commit academic dishonesty (University of Phoenix, n.d.).

Many students do not cite properly or at all because they are not familiar with citation and reference formatting. The best preventative measure for that issue is to study the format used at your college. The University of Phoenix uses the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) format. The APA manual can be purchased by the student, or the student can find helpful APA format tips online. The Perdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has been an effective APA format source for me. It can be found at Only trust professional or academic websites for use. Becoming proficient in your college’s chosen format is imperative. Keeping a list of reference formats that you have used saves time.

Turnitin has been an effective academic tool for me over the years. It has helped me to become a better writer, and helped me to monitor my academic teammates’ project contributions. Academic integrity is imperative. Preventative measures include programs like Turnitin and the proficiency of the student in formal writing formats.


American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological
Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

University of Phoenix. (n.d.). Student code of academic integrity. Retrieved from documents/uophx/academic_integrity.htm (Also available here)

About the Guest Author
Beth Calvano is a college English composition instructor and is currently working towards her Doctoral degree at the University of Phoenix where she submits her writing assignments through Turnitin.