Getting Started with Authorship for Investigators

This guide will cover the key information that you need to know about Authorship for Investigators and help you get started using it at your institution. Each chapter has the relevant roles next to it to help you navigate to the sections most relevant to you.

Group Exercises

Throughout this guide there are group exercises that we recommend you and your colleagues attempt. We believe these exercises will help you better understand how to use Authorship in your institution and help you combat contract cheating and other forms of academic misconduct.

What is contract cheating?

Contract cheating is the practice of individuals procuring third-parties to produce their academic work and then submitting that work as their own, original creation. This ranges from buying a pre-written answer to an essay topic to personalized essays written on demand.

Where Authorship for Investigators fits in

Authorship for Investigators offers the tools to combat the rise in contract cheating by providing academic integrity officers, student conduct officers, or whoever conducts additional investigations into severe cases of academic misconduct with an institution-wide dashboard and evidence-gathering report.

It is important to note that Authorship for Investigators does not identify contract cheating. It takes human judgment to determine whether contract cheating has occurred based on the balance of probabilities.

Authorship for Investigators automates many of the manual workflows that investigators of serious academic misconduct spend hours performing. Tedious tasks like collecting document sets for the investigation, trawling document metadata, and creating the misconduct investigation report are now streamlined.

Authorship for Investigators also provides new evidence about a student’s writing over time that can be used to confirm suspicions of a possible misconduct violation. This evidence is provided in an Authorship Report that is generated by either manually uploading files to compare against each other, or by entering a Turnitin paper ID and selecting from a list of the students’ past work which files you would like to compare against.

Getting your institution set up - Account Administrator

Once your account has been provisioned by us, the email address that you designated as your account administrator will receive an activation email. This email will prompt you to create a username and password. You can use these credentials to log in to your Turnitin account at the URL provided to you. This URL is where you will access the Authorship for Investigators features of your Turnitin account from now on and it is unique to your institution.

Bookmark your institution’s URL so you can access it easily.

If you use a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle or Microsoft Teams, you will still access your Authorship for Investigators from this Turnitin URL. You cannot access Authorship for Investigator features from an LMS.

Finding your way around

Learn how to navigate your Turnitin environment.

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Manage users

Add and manage users in your account.

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It is very important to understand the level of access for each role. We are aware that institutions often have certain levels of authority for who has access to student work across many courses, departments, and schools.

Making a user an Account Administrator means they will have access to account-wide settings, user management, license information, the ability to lookup paper’s within the institution.

Role Permissions
Account Administrator

Account-wide settings

User management

License information

Paper lookup

Product Admin


Submission ID

File upload

Student document download


Submission ID

File upload

Student document download

User File upload
No access This user will not be able to launch the product. You may want to give an Account Administrator a No access user type if you only want them to use the administrator tools and not the Authorship environment itself.

The Dashboard - Product Administrators

Starting from the provisioning of your account, every paper submitted to your institution via Turnitin will be processed by Authorship for Investigators and displayed in the My Dashboard area in your Authorship for Investigators account.

The dashboard body

What the body of the dashboard can tell you.

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Filter the dashboard

Filter the dashboard to aide your investigations.

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The prediction score

What does the prediction score mean and how is it calculated?

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The Authorship Report - Product Administrators, Investigators, and Users

The Authorship Report is a tool designed to help institutions combat contract cheating.

Create an Authorship Report

Learn how to create an Authorship Report.

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Viewing the Authorship Report

How do you open the Authorship Report?

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The Authorship Report

To access this guidance you will need to follow the link from within the product.

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Group Exercise - The Authorship Report

Create a report for a student who you believe has not committed contract cheating. Open that report and observe what a non critical report looks like.

Now find a student that has been flagged as highly critical in the dashboard. Open that report and observe what a critical report looks like.

From the two reports, open the paper texts of the two students. Compare how these essays look, feel, and read. Write down the key differences in these paper texts.

Once you’ve finished, share your findings and discuss as a group the differences. This will help train you and your colleagues to spot potentially problematic papers at the point of grading.


Next steps - Academic misconduct officers

The Authorship Report can be printed and used as a brief in the next steps of an academic misconduct investigation. Often this will require the student in question to appear at a formal interview to discuss the discrepancies found.

If your institution does not already have a process in place for interviewing students accused of academic misconduct this section will help provide questions that can be linked to the data provided by the Authorship Report.

Document Details

Attempt to tie down a narrative regarding how many computers were used in the creation of the essay, and whether there was any outside help.

“Which/whose computer did you use to write this essay?”

“Did you ask anyone to check over your essay for you?”

“Did you receive any outside help on your work?”

“How long did it take you to write this essay?”

Essay Integrity

Find out whether the student has used a template for the creation of the essay. Try and tie down a timeline for the essay’s creation.

“Did you use a template for this essay?”

“How long did it take you to write this essay?”

Writing Consistency

The results of the Writing Consistency section are a bit more intangible but these questions can help understand them more. It is also a good opportunity to have the student speak aloud to see whether their spoken prose matches their written.

“Please could you speak for a few minutes on the subject of the essay?”

“Please explain your writing process.”

“Could you tell me the definition of [interesting or unusual word used]?”

“What sources did you use for this essay? Did they influence your writing?”

“For this essay, can you tell us whether you approached it in a different way?”


If there are images in the document, find out where the student found these images.

“Where did you source the images used in the essay?”

“Where do you usually source images for your essays?”


Group Exercise - The Interview

Find a report that you believe contains data that indicates contract cheating has taken place.

Use the interview questions provided to conduct a mock interview with a colleague playing the part of a student who is attempting to explain the data in the report.

Use the questions to create a timeline according to the 'student'. Now use the data from the report to attempt to dispute this timeline. This will help train you and your colleagues how to interview students who have been accused of contract cheating.