The Catholic University of America




Plagiarism Detection


SafeAssign and Turnitin are Plagiarism Detection tools offered for faculty use at CUA. They are both used to prevent plagiarism and create opportunities to help students properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase.  SafeAssign and Turnitin each use data mining to compile large databases of electronic academic materials, which are then compared against student papers to assess originality. These tools are effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool.



SafeAssign is now integrated with Blackboard! When creating assignments, SafeAssign is the plagiarism detection option within Blackboard. Because it is automatically available for all courses and assignments, SafeAssign is very easy to use for checking papers. Student papers are simply submitted and checked, with no need to navigate to external sites. By using SafeAssign, one can compare submitted papers with the following:

  • 15+ million papers submited by students
  • About 1,100 publication titles and 2.6 million articles published starting in the 1990's
  • Articles in the ProQuest database
  • Internet pages using Yahoo! Boss search

SafeAssign does not

  • Distinguish between properly cited text and plagiarized text
  • Catch improperly paraphrased text, made-up facts, or false citation
  • Analyze students' writing style

SafeAssign is available through your Blackboard courses. When creating assignments, look for the SafeAssign option under Submission Details.

The use of SafeAssign is determined by course instructors.  Students cannot use SafeAssign unless requested by their instructor.

  SafeAssign Tutorials:



Turnitin is a web based service outside of Blackboard. 

If an instructor would like access to Turnitin, they may submit a help ticket by emailing with their full name and CUA user ID.

Students must be given access to Turnitin through their instructor

Once your instructor has given you access, you must navigate to and create an account in order to begin using the service.

 Turnitin Tutorials:


It is important to know that any use of Plagiarism detection systems must be in full compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

To view the full FPCO guidance on this topic please see:

Additional information on FERPA may be found at