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Saybrook Center for Writing & Academic Success

The Center for Writing & Academic Success serves students by assisting them in developing their writing process and instructing them in using the tools and resources necessary to be self-sufficient writers in their academic studies and beyond.

About Saybrook University's Plagiarism Policy

Maintaining academic integrity is a high priority for Saybrook University. As a university with most coursework being conducted online, student work is monitored closel​y to detect instances of plagiarism. All suspected incidents of plagiarism must be reported. Possible interventions for confirmed acts of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, acad​emic suspension or termination. For more information, see the most recent version of the Academic Catalog and Stu​dent Handbook​ available in the database. 

​​​Students are expected to produce original work in all paper​s, coursework, dissertations, and other academic projects (including case studies). To maintain academic integrity, students cannot submit work in one class and then resubmit it as original work in another class.

Definition of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the act of representing words, ideas, or data from any source as one's own original work. Note that not all acts of plagiarism are intentional and unintentional acts of plagiarism must also be reported. Any use or reproduction of another's work without appropriate attribution constitutes plagiarism.

Forms of plagiarism include:

  • Direct plagiarism: using quoted material without proper citation and/or quotation marks
  • Self-plagiarism: submitting your own previous work for another course
  • Mosaic plagiarism: substituting words within quoted material, but keeping the same sentence structure and meaning as the original author.
  • Accidental plagiarism: unintentional plagiarism that may occur when the author neglects to cite a source, misquotes their source, or paraphrases a source in a manner that is too similar to the original.

To learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it, enroll in the Saybrook Center for Writing and Academic Success Canvas shell.

Using Turnitin

To promote academic integrity and to enable students to monitor their written work, Saybrook University utilizes Turnitin for assignments submitted in Canvas. Any written document submitted through Canvas is automatically run through Turnitin, which generates an originality report that provides a similarity index score. The similarity index score represents how similar the submitted document is to internet sources, publications, and previously submitted student papers. Note that a similarity is not the same as plagiarism. A submitted document may have a high similarity index score and contain no plagiarism. Conversely, a document may also generate a low similarity index score, but still contain plagiarized material. 

A high similarity index score should be given considerate attention whether plagiarism has occurred or not. A high score may be indicative that the writer should further develop their academic writing or reduce the amount of direct quotations used.

Check with your instructor (or course syllabus) if you have questions about the appropriateness of your similarity index score. Saybrook University does not require a specific percentage for all coursework, but instructors may enforce their own requirements. In some instances, faculty members may ask that work be resubmitted with a lower similarity index score.

To reduce the similarity index score, try the following:

If you are having a hard time understanding how to use the Turnitin tool, use the resources in the Turnitin Student Guides to acquaint yourself with Turnitin. The information presented within will address the most common questions related to the Turnitin tool. 

Note that Turnitin can be confusing to first time users. To avoid problems, please set aside enough time to get acquainted with the system beforehand.

Turnitin Questions

Please contact your instructor regarding general questions about Turnitin or the standards and requirements that need to be met for your course. Your instructor's contact information should appear in your Canvas classroom and/or course syllabus.  

Please contact the Center for Writing and Academic Success at if you need help understanding how to read an originality report or lowering a similarity index score. In addition, you may ask your instructor for assistance.

Please use the Turnitin Support Wizard for assistance with technical issues with the Turnitin system.​