Using text matching software

While this type of software can be used as a detection tool, it can also, more importantly, be used as an educative tool. Through the provision of student access to the software, students can learn more about the process of academic writing thereby improving their skills.

Using text recognition software promotes better learning through:

  • encouraging students to read their drafts before resubmitting, leading to self-evaluation and self-correction of their own papers
  • submitting more drafts leading to a better final product, resulting in better essay/report structure, and better overall quality of written academic work
  • encouraging students to evaluate their papers in terms of referencing
  • encouraging collaboration between students in interpreting and understanding the originality reports, and subsequently correcting their work
  • deterring last-minute assignment work [20].


Flinders has purchased electronic text matching software, called Turnitin, to assist in the education about, and maintenance of, academic integrity.

Turnitin works by comparing submitted documents against an Internet Archive of over 8 billion documents, scholastic and news databases with over 9 million articles and an archive of previously submitted papers. Turnitin then generates a report, where all matched text is highlighted and linked to its online or database sources.

It is important to note that the software does not detect plagiarism, it matches text. It is the responsibility of the academic staff member to interpret the report and determine whether matched text is plagiarism, or properly cited work.

Turnitin may be used in topics and is available to students for their own educational purposes though the Student Learning Centre

Protocols for use of electronic text matching software

Academic staff can elect to use the software for the detection of plagiarism in accordance with our set of protocols for the use of electronic text matching software.

The purpose of the protocols is to ensure that students are fully informed about the use of electronic text matching software and the manner of its use.

Academic staff may use other methods of detection such as Google without following the protocols.

The responsibilities of staff in respect to the use of electronic text matching software are also outlined in the Policy on Academic Integrity and the Assessment Policies and Procedures.

Support for students

The Student Learning Centre provides support for students in using the Turnitin software, including interpreting results. Visit their website for more information.

Students requiring help accessing and submitting their assignments to Turnitin can seek assistance at the FLO Student Help Desk located in the library. Their contact details are:
Phone:   (08) 8201 5378 or toll free 1800 200 292

Support for staff

The following tools and resources are now available to staff to support them in their use of Turnitinat Flinders University:

Face to face workshops

In accordance with the protocols for the use of electronic text matching software, teaching staff who intend using Turnitin must be inducted into the use of the software and academic integrity issues via workshops conducted by the Centre for Educational ICT. Please ensure you register to attend a workshop well in advance of when you plan to use Turnitin.

Help Desk and Faculty support

Students requiring help accessing and submitting their assignments to Turnitin can seek assistance via or via their Faculty's flexible education staff.

Mailing List

Flinders University also has a Turnitin mailing list. Members will receive regular updates on developments with Turnitin and information on resources developed. Staff who attend the workshops will be automatically added to the mailing list.