Turnitin is an Internet-based plagiarism-prevention service created by iParadigms, LLC, first launched in 1997. Typically, universities and high schools buy licenses to submit essays to the Turnitin website, which checks the documents for unoriginal content. The results can be used to identify similarities to existing sources or can be used in formative assessment to help students learn how to avoid plagiarism and improve their writing.
Students may be required by schools to submit essays to Turnitin, as a deterrent to plagiarism. This has been a source of criticism, with some students refusing to do so in the belief that requiring it constitutes a presumption of guilt. Additionally, critics have alleged that use of the software violates educational privacy and intellectual property laws.
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