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I study ATHE Level-4 Diploma in Computing, regulated by UK based Ofqual. Since March 2023, quillbot(a type of paraphrasing tool) kind of works slow on both my home network and college network. The two locations both use literally the same ISP, so I guess this is expected. Now, since then, I have been using ChatGPT-3.5 to paraphrase my own texts and cited texts for my assignments. I, of course, do provide citations in my assignments in Harvard-Anglia Reference Style

Will this be any problem for turnitin? Will this cause any issue for me? I couldn't find any information regarding this, and even my instructor is confused with this. Not knowing where to go regarding this dilemma, I asked it here in Stack Exchange.

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  • We both use literally the same ISP - Who is we? Also, I am quite confused by your question so I'm not surprised your instructor is too.
    – Kimball
    Jun 7, 2023 at 14:42
  • @Kimball, Read again. I wrote "Since March 2023, quillbot(a type of paraphrasing tool) kind of works slow on both my home network and college network. We both use literally the same ISP, so I guess this is expected." By this I meant that the internet service provider my college uses is the same one as my personal network's. Jun 7, 2023 at 17:28
  • Too much jargon, unclear text. Please rephrase. Aug 19, 2023 at 14:55

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I'm not sure why you would be using quillbot to paraphrase your own work, unless you were attempting to avoid detection for self-plagiarism.

Some students use ChatGPT to improve the flow and grammar of text they write themselves, and to give them feedback on their writing, so that they might write better text the first time in the future. This kind of use of ChatGPT is one that we can't comment on here, and whether it is acceptable or not will depend on your instructional policies.

I would recommend not using ChatGPT to paraphrase your sources, even if you cite them. Originality in your writing exists on a spectrum and encompasses several aspects beyond just outright plagiarism. If you cite your sources, then you are not technically plagiarising them.

However, ask yourself why you do not just directly quote - why bother to paraphrase? Just stringing together a series of quotes leads to something I call "quotation lego". You are asked to do work at university in order to demonstrate that you understand a topic, but you can use a quote without really understanding what it means.

It takes some level of understanding to be able to paraphrase a source. At the very least, you need to understand the grammatical constructions they used. Using ChatGPT to paraphrase your sources doesn't require this understanding, it is really just quoting, but then trying to hide it - it is fundamentally dishonest. Of course, if you don't fundamentally understand what is being paraphrased, then you are probably not in a position to say whether ChatGPT has preserved the meaning

Of course you can paraphrase a source without fully understanding it. Thats why I tell my students that even paraphrasing sources themselves is bad practice, even if they cite them. Ideally you should write your content yourself, from scratch, using your own structure, analogies etc, citing the sources of the ideas you are discussing - the best way to do this is with the original source no where near you when you are writing.

As for whether you'll be caught - I couldn't say. Turnitin in the UK currently doesn't use GPT detection, but that will almost certainly change in the near future. As it currently isn't used, no one knows what it will and won't pick up. But trying to outsmart Turnitin is the wrong approach. If you think that you would be in trouble if Turnitin did pick it up, then you probably shouldn't be doing it anyway.

Ask yourself - why are you taking this course? The only good answer is to learn. Finding shortcuts to learning and understanding defeats the purpose of paying for the course in the first place.

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  • Hey Mr. Ian. I know I expressed absurdity by writing this post. Believe me. I am learning as I write my assignments. Here is the thing. During my first month, I never rephrased my own texts and other writers' texts. I only cited other writers and gave proper references. However, as my instructor sent my assignments to Turnit in, it showed more than 30% plagiarism (even on my own texts). That is why my instructor said to paraphrase every texts. -_- Jun 7, 2023 at 12:09
  • I do understand what quillbot and chatgpt paraphrases with my texts, and I have no interest in being dishonest with my work. Truth to be told, my instructor put me in a tight spot with his words regarding turnitin's plagiarism reports even when I use my own texts. Jun 7, 2023 at 12:18
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    Your instructor is deficient then - they should be manually checking the turnitin matches to see if they are real plagiarism or not. In any case, the answer to your actual question is above. Current turnitin doesn't identify GPT text, but it may do in the future. Jun 7, 2023 at 16:04

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