All work that students submit must be their own work (original) and include proper citations when work is copied or paraphrased (see section on plagiarism). Instructors and TAs have always employed various methods for detecting plagiarism. With the advent of the internet and the corresponding explosion of available material for students, it has become difficult and time-consuming to employ the older detection methods.

McMaster University has purchased Turnitin.com, which is a detection service. Students submit their assignment/work electronically to Turnitin.com where it is checked against the internet, published works and Turnitin’s database for similar or identical work. If Turnitin finds similar or identical work that has not been properly cited, a report is sent to the instructor showing the student’s work and the original source. The instructor reviews what Turnitin has found and then determines if he/she thinks there is a problem with the work.