Can Turnitin Detect Essays Bought Online

With more universities focusing on plagiarism scores to catch cheaters, some students are worried they’d get flagged for copying content from other sources. Now with an online tool like Turnitin, the threat is even greater and many students are concerned if it can also detect essays they bought online.

Answering the Question

If you’re wondering whether or not Turnitin can detect purchased essays for plagiarism, the answer is a nuanced YES and NO. There’s a catch to this.


Turnitin’s vast database contains copies of electronic text collected from various sources, including:

  • The internet
  • Public and commercial databases
  • Published works
  • Papers previously submitted by students
  • Sites and online forums where students sell academic papers

It’s important to highlight the latter two factors. With these, one would think that Turnitin has access to all written works - even your purchased essays. If this is the case, paying for a paper online defeats its purpose. That’s why it’s important to stress that this could only happen if the paper you’ve purchased is copied off a previously published or submitted work that’s found on Turnitin’s database.

Turnitin: How Does It Work?

Turnitin provides an Originality Report where it underlines matched text. These texts are color-coded and are linked to either the original source or a matching document found on its database.

Additionally, this report comes with an indication of the proportion of a submitted paper that matches other sources, called the Similarity Index. The color of the underlined text indicates the similarity score of a paper, based on the amount of similar or matching text. The possible similarity percentages are as follows:

  • Blue: No matching text
  • Green: One word to 24% matching text
  • Yellow: 25-49% matching text
  • Orange: 50-74% matching text
  • Red: 75-100% matching text

Is It Possible to Cheat the System?

As with many things, there are ‘possible’ ways to beat Turnitin. Here are some ways you can do it:


Use purchased essay only as a model paper.

This is the safest route if you really want to avoid getting flagged by Turnitin and the source of your paper being revealed in the Similarity Index. But with a safe essay writing service, you will never have to worry about plagiarism since they’re completely safe to use and all papers are written from scratch. However, we strongly advise not to submit and pass it off as your own, even if the company transfers ownership of the paper to you.

Avoid using public databases.

Use published works only as references. You can also use it as a model paper for revising or rewriting your own work.

Buy essays from a credible writing service.

Well-written custom papers done by legitimate writers should be safe from plagiarism detection.


Bottom Line

So, can Turnitin detect the essay you bought online?

If the essay in question was written by a professional writer and was written from scratch without extensively using published sources, then it’s virtually impossible for systems like Turnitin to detect plagiarism.

With this in mind, always make sure to buy your papers from reputable legal companies (and ones with their own plagiarism software). And if possible, buy an essay only for personal revision purposes.

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