The Moodle Report Research Paper

The submission deadline for the Moodle Research Conference (MRC2014) is approaching fast. I imagine many people around the world are feverishly preparing their submissions. Unlike most conferences, the MRC draws together people with different experience from many fields who happen to be conducting research in and around Moodle. Being one of the co-chairs for this year’s MRC, I thought I’d put together a guide to help authors.

Links to past research

As a researcher, you are never working alone. Basing your research on work that has come before gives you a solid foundation and increases the credibility of your work. Reviewers are not only judging your paper, they are looking at your knowledge of the field. Citing appropriate past research demonstrates your understanding and places your work within your research area. References should be formatted according to the prescribed standard and should provide enough detail to allow a reviewer to find the cited work. Cited works should be primarily from peer-reviewed sources. Ideally, you should be able to demonstrate a need for your current work based on past research.

Research questions

After setting the paper within past research, you should then define the aim of your research and this is done with research questions. Such questions could be phrased as hypotheses, but this is not essential for an MRC paper. Your research questions can be used to define the structure of the remaining paper including the conclusions at the end of the paper, where the answers to these questions should be presented.

Evidence

Without evidence a paper is simply opinion. In order to answer your research questions, you need to gather and analyse evidence. The evidence should answer the research questions, proving or disproving something – either outcome is valuable to report. The evidence you present could come from one (or more) of many sources such as experimental results, user data gathered in Moodle, surveys, case studies, etc. You should be able to show how the evidence you have gathered builds on the past research you have written about earlier in the paper. Even if your paper is focussed on the the development of a new tool (such as a Moodle add-on), you should go beyond a simple description, showing evidence that the tool works in practice and can have benefits.

A few more tips

Writing quality and flow
MRC papers must be written in English. Poor writing distracts reviewers from the important research work you are reporting. If English is not your first language (or even if it is) get someone else to proof read your paper before you submit it. Also consider the flow of your paper: each paragraph should follow on from the last and each section should lead into the next. You are arguing the value of your work and your argument should seem logical.
Follow the template and use its styles
The MRC, like most conferences, provides a template to demonstrate the expected paper format. Rather than copying the styles shown, use the template as the starting point for your submitted paper. Use the styles in the template rather than manipulating text to look like the styles. Doing this is easier and is something all word processor users should be able to do. It also ensures all papers in the final proceedings are consistent. If your paper appears different, reviewers will feel responsible to point this out and that will detract from the review. Look through the Moodle Research Library for examples of accepted papers from past MRC conferences.
Anonymise your work properly
The MRC uses double-blind peer review, so authors don’t know who is reviewing their work and reviewers don’t know who has authored the paper they are reviewing. If the reviewer sees you’ve done a poor job anonymising your paper, that may impact their review. See the guide to submitting papers for things to check when anonymising your document.
Present data visually
A picture is worth a thousand words. Presenting data as a table or chart makes it easier for readers to understand. Screen captures are a great way to show tools in use. All tables and figures should be labelled and there should be a reference to these items within the text to include them at appropriate points in the flow of the document.

References

  • MRC2014 site
  • MRC2014 Call for Papers
  • Moodle Research site
  • Guide to submitting papers
  • Moodle Research Library
  • Simon, Carbone, A., de Raadt, M., Lister, R., Hamilton, M., & Sheard, J. (2008): Classifying Computing Education Papers: Process and Results. Proceedings of the International Computing Education Research Conference (ICER2008), Sydney, Australia, 6-7 September, 2008. 161 – 171.
  • Simon, Sheard, J., Carbone, A., de Raadt, M., Hamilton, M., Lister, R., et al. (2008): Eight years of computing education papers at NACCQ. Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference of the National Advisory Committee on Computing Qualifications (NACCQ 2008), Auckland, New Zealand, 4-7 July 2008. 101 – 107.

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Author: Michael de Raadt

I'm a husband, dad, manager and education technologist.

Turnitin Feedback Studio has replaced Turnitin Classic. Your new guidance for viewing the Similarity Report in Turnitin Feedback Studio can be found here.

 

The Similarity Report provides a summary of matching or similar areas of text found in a submitted paper. When a Similarity Report is available to be viewed an icon is placed in the Similarity column of the student class portfolio page. Similarity Reports that have not finished generating will display the text processing within the Similarity column of the student class portfolio page. 

 

Note: Overwritten or resubmitted papers may not generate a new Similarity Report for a full twenty-four hours. This delay is automatic and allows resubmissions to correctly generate without matching to the previous draft.


The paper shown in the Similarity Report is fully formatted and contains any images and graphs included in the original document. 

How is My Paper Checked?

 

Papers submitted to Turnitin may be compared against billions of internet documents, archived internet data that is no longer available on the live web, a local repository of previously submitted papers, and subscription repository of periodicals, journals, and publications. The comparison may be against any or all of these repositories as set on a specific assignment by the instructor of the class. Turnitin may be compared against billions of internet documents, archived internet data that is no longer available on the live web, a local repository of previously submitted papers, and subscription repository of periodicals, journals, and publications. The comparison may be against any or all of these repositories as set on a specific assignment by the instructor of the class. 


The comparison document is called a Similarity Report. This document details the matching or similar text between a submission made on Turnitin and the documents the submission was compared against. This document is listed in the instructor’s view of the class assignment inbox.

Similarity Report Availability


At the discretion of the instructor, student users may be able to view the Similarity Reports for their own submissions on Turnitin. This is a preference that is selected on an assignment by assignment basis and may be updated at any time by the instructor. Only the instructor can change this setting.Turnitin. This is a preference that is selected on an assignment by assignment basis and may be updated at any time by the instructor. Only the instructor can change this setting.


Note: If Not Available appears under the Similarity column for the assignment, then Similarity Reports are not available to student users in this assignment. Students wishing to view or receive a copy of the Similarity Report for their submissions must contact the instructor. The determination of authorizing access to this information is in the hands of the instructor and institution.

 

Interpreting the Similarity Report

 

Turnitin does not check for plagiarism in a piece of work. Instead, we will check your work against our database, and if there are instances where your writing is similar to, or matches against, one of our sources, we will flag this for your instructor to review. Our database includes billions of web pages: both current and archived content from the internet, a repository of works students have submitted to Turnitin in the past, and a collection of documents, which comprises thousands of periodicals, journals, and publications.Turnitin in the past, and a collection of documents, which comprises thousands of periodicals, journals, and publications.

 

 

It is perfectly natural for an assignment to match against some of our database. If you have used quotes and have referenced correctly, there will be instances where we will find a match. The Similarity Score Index (SSI) simply makes your instructor aware of any problem areas in your paper; they will then use this as a tool as part of a larger process, in order to determine if the match is or is not acceptable.

Similarity Index Examples 


As an example, you may have submitted a paper to Turnitin in the past. If you included your name in that submission, it is entirely possible that, if your instructor has opted not to exclude small matches, this will be highlighted in your Similarity Report.

 

Another example may concern a student copying and pasting a chunk of text into their paper, due to a lack of knowledge on the topic they are covering. Their Similarity Index might be 10%.

 

However, this might be compared to another student who has a firm basis of knowledge for the paper and knows enough to gather information from several sources to quote and reference correctly. Their Similarity Index might be 12%.

 

Both students will be shown to have matches against our database. However, one of these students copied directly from a website, whereas the other provided properly sourced quotes.

 

Turnitin empowers your instructor by giving them the tools to differentiate between matches. It also empowers you, as a student, by knowing that your work will be seen through the correct lens. You can find more information about citing the sources you have used here: http://www.plagiarism.org/citing-sources/cite-sources

Interpreting Scores

 

The Similarity Report icon shows a percentage and a corresponding color indicating where this percentage falls, in terms of matching content.

 

The higher the percentage, the greater the amount of text in the submission that was highlighted as matching against information in Turnitin’s repositories. The percentage range runs from 0% to 100%. The percentage is generated by the amount of similar or matching text compared to the number of words in the submission in total.

 

The color of the report icon is linked to one of five tiers; this is based on the amount of matching text found by the repository comparison. The possible similarity index percentage ranges are linked to a corresponding color:

 

  • blue (no matching words)
  • green (one matching word - 24% similarity index)
  • yellow (25-49% similarity)
  • orange (50-74% similarity)
  • red (75-100% similarity)


This number is a raw amount of matching completed against the repositories selected by your instructor for the assignment the submission was made to.

Matches Against Citations and Bibliographies

 

Direct quotations, citations, or bibliography areas of the paper are not automatically excluded. The decision to permanently exclude or disregard matches to these types of text in a paper is made solely by the instructor of the class.Turnitin repository. Direct quotation, citations, or bibliography areas of the paper are not automatically excluded. The decision to permanently exclude or disregard matches to these types of text in a paper is made solely by the instructor of the class.


Warning: These indices in no way reflect Turnitin’s assessment of whether a paper contains plagiarized material or improperly used material. The Similarity Report provides instructors with a tool to more easily locate matching or similar text within the text of a submitted work. The determination and adjudication of proper citation and plagiarism are left solely to the instructor and institution to which the work was submitted. Any questions regarding the definition of plagiarism used at your institution should be directed to the instructor of the class or an appropriate institutional staff member.

Opening the Similarity Report

 

Similarity Reports are typically completed within ten to fifteen minutes of submissions. This report generation time may vary based on the extreme levels of usage that may occur during certain periods of the academic year or due to very large submissions. 


If the Similarity Report viewing preference is set by the instructor to allow students to access the reports, the Similarity Report icon will allow the user to open the report.

 

Viewing Similarity Reports

 

The Similarity Report can be viewed in one of four modes. These modes allow users to view and sort the information contained in the Similarity Report in ways better suited to their needs. The four viewing modes for an Similarity Report are: 

 

  • Match Overview (show highest matches together): A list of all areas of the paper which have similarity to information in the Turnitin repository. Matches are color coded and listed from highest to lowest percentage of matching word area to the submission. Only the top or best matches are shown, all underlying matches are visible in the Match Breakdown and All Sources modesTurnitin repository. Matches are color coded and listed from highest to lowest percentage of matching word area to the submission. Only the top or best matches are shown, all underlying matches are visible in the Match Breakdown and All Sources modes

 

  • All Sources: Allows a user to view matches between the paper and a specific selected source in the Turnitin repositories. Contains a full list of all matches found rather than the best matches per area of similarity. This listing is exhaustive but will show all matches found, including any that are obscured in the Match Overview by virtue of being in the same or similar areas as other, better matchesTurnitin repositories. Contains a full list of all matches found rather than the best matches per area of similarity. This listing is exhaustive but will show all matches found, including any that are obscured in the Match Overview by virtue of being in the same or similar areas as other, better matches

 

  • Match Breakdown: Displays matches that are obscured by a top source. Allows instructors to compare the match instance of a underlying source with the match instance for a top source

 

  • Direct Source Comparison: An in depth view that shows an area of similarity compared side by side with a specific match from the Turnitin repositories. Not available on all types of repository matchesTurnitin repositories. Not available on all types of repository matches

Similarity Report Contents

 

The Similarity Report is separated into three main areas: 

 

  • document viewer frame - shows the Similarity Index for the report and the title and author of the paper

 

  • paper text - the submitted paper text in its original formatting. Matching text is highlighted in a color that corresponds to the matching source listed on the right side of the Similarity Report

 

  • matching sources/sidebar - the list of matching sources for the highlighted areas of the paper text to the left. The sidebar also displays the Filter and Settings (exclusion options)

 

Paper Information

 

The paper information can be viewed by clicking on the information icon at the bottom left of the document viewer. 

 

 

The paper information contains: the submission id, the date the paper was processed, the word count, the character count, the number of submissions to the assignment, the overall similarity index, and the three repository indices.

Direct Source Comparison

 

Direct Source Comparison, allows a user to quickly compare matching text to the source of the match in the Turnitin repositories. Using Direct Source Comparison can be done from the Match Overview or the All Sources view mode of the Similarity Report.Turnitin repositories. Matches to other student papers are not available for Direct Source Comparison viewing unless the students are enrolled in your class. Using Direct Source Comparison can be done from the Match Overview or the All Sources view mode of the Similarity Report.


Users can either view the Direct Source Comparison as a glimpse within the paper or as the Full Source Text within the sidebar. The glimpse only provides the matching text within context of a few outlying sentences from the source while the Full Source Text loads in the sidebar and contains the full text of the source and all the match instances.

 

1. Open an Similarity Report

 

 

2. Click on a highlighted area of text on the left hand (student paper) side

 

 

3. A pop-up window will appear above the highlighted text displaying the matching text within the source of the match

 

 

4. (Optional) Clicking on the url link, available on live internet matches, brings up a view of the live web site within a new browser tab or window

 

 

5

5a. Click on the “x” in the top right corner of the pop-up to close the window

 

 

5b. To view the matching text within the full source click on the Expand to Full Text link

 

 

6. The Full Source Text view of the source will load into the sidebar

 

 

7. If there are multiple matches to this source, click on the arrow icons to quickly navigate through the match instances

 

 

8. To exit the Full Source Text View click on the “X” button

 

Repository Sources

 

TurnitinTurnitin utilizes multiple types of repository in the generation of the Similarity 
Reports. There are four types of repository:

 

  • internet repository - billions of active and archived web pages from the internet. Internet sources indicate a date of download on the Turnitin Similarity Report if the match is not found on the most recent download of content from this site.
  • periodicals - a repository of frequently updated content from professional journals, periodicals, and publications
  • student paper repository - a repository of papers previously submitted by Turnitin users
  • institution paper repository - a collection of papers submitted to the institution’s repository

 

Note: If an area of submission text is matched to a source in the student paper repository on Turnitin, it will be listed as Turnitin, it will be listed as student papers. Direct Source Comparison is not available to students for student paper matches.

Excluding Quoted or Bibliographic Material

 

If quoted or bibliographic material is flagged as similar or matching, this information can be removed from the Similarity Report. Students are only able to remove quoted or bibliographic material for the duration of the current view of the report. Permanent exclusion of this information must be handled by the instructor. 


Please note that the functions for excluding material are approximate and human judgement is the final arbiter for proper quotation or bibliographic reference. Cited material cannot be excluded directly, and quotations can only be excluded if block-indentation or direct quotation marks (“”) begin and end the quotation. 

 

 

1. Open an Similarity Report

 

 

2. Click on the Filter and Settings icon

 

 

3. To exclude Quoted or Bibliographic material click the check box next to the Exclude Quotes and Exclude Bibliography exclusion options

 

 

4. Click on the Apply Changes button to save the settings

 

Excluding Small Matches

 

Users have the ability to exclude small matches by either word count or by percentage. To exclude small matches within an Similarity Report click on the Filter and Settings icon below the sidebar.

 

 

The sidebar will load with the exclusion options. Below the Exclude matches that are less than: option enter into either the words or % fields the numerical value for small matches that will be excluded from this Similarity Report. To turn off excluding small matches click on the radio button next to Don’t exclude by size. To save the settings click on the Apply Changes button at the bottom of the sidebar. This feature can be adjusted at any time. 


When a student closes an Similarity Report after using the exclude small matches option the Similarity Report will return to the assignment’s default setting for excluding small matches and the students changes will not be saved.

 

 

Downloading Reports and Digital Receipts

 

The Similarity Report or digital receipt can be downloaded to the user’s computer for later reference.


To print/download a report, click on the print icon at the bottom of the Similarity Report. This will prepare a readable, PDF version of the Similarity Report or digital receipt. When downloading a report, the downloaded version created is based on the current view of Similarity Report. For example, clicking the download icon while using the default Match Overview will create a PDF of only the highest matches.

 

 

Once a PDF version of the report or digital receipt has been saved to your computer, you may then use your computer’s default PDF viewing application to print the Similarity Report/digital receipt. The downloaded version will no longer have any of the Direct Source Comparison capability and will not be able to show side by side comparisons. The view modes of a downloaded report are not available in the PDF document.

Training Video: Viewing a Similarity Report

 

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