Detect Plagiarism with Turnitin

To check student assignment submissions for potential plagiarism, you can enable Turnitin on your Canvas assignment. Turnitin will run a similarity report against documents in its repository, our institution’s repository, website content, periodicals, journals, and articles.


  1. Create an assignment with the Submission Type Online. Choose the input method as file uploads and/or text entry.
    screenshot of submission type in Turnitin
  2. Select Turnitin in the Plagiarism Review option.
    screenshot of the plagiarism review dropdown menu
  3. Choose where to store submissions for future comparison.
  4. Note: If the assignment is a rough draft, you should select “Do not store the submitted papers”.
    screenshot of the plagiarism review store submission dropdown menu
  5. Choose which repositories to compare submissions against and the appropriate Similarity Report exclusions and inclusions.
    screenshot of the options for Turnitin

    1. Student papers submitted to Turnitin at other institutions
    2. Student papers submitted to Turnitin within SMU
    3. Current and archived web content that is publicly available
    4. Books, newspapers, and journals through Turnitin’s partnerships with publishers, library databases, digital reference collections, and subscription-based publications
    5. Exclude text appearing in the bibliography, works cited, or references sections of student papers from being checked for matches when generating Similarity Reports
    6. Exclude text appearing in quotes from being checked for matches when generating Similarity Reports
    7. You can opt to exclude small sources from the Similarity Report by a set number of words or a percentage. Turnitin looks at the size of a matching source and makes any necessary exclusions based on the threshold specified by you.
    8. The e-rater® grammar feedback technology, developed by ETS®, automatically checks submissions to an assignment for grammar, usage, mechanics, style and spelling errors; providing in-depth feedback with on paper marks.
  6. Choose when to show the Similarity Report to students.
    screenshot of the how to report to students dropdown menu

Visit Turnitin's instructor similarity resources for additional information on interpreting the report.