Turnitin is a powerful tool for allowing you to improve your academic practice. However, interpreting a Turnitin Originality Report is sometimes not straightforward.

Turnitin matches text in your assignment with text in millions of other online sources such as books, journals, web pages and the work of other students. The Originality Report gives you a percentage representing the amount of text in your work which matches other sources online. There is no magic percentage match which indicates that your work is, or is not, plagiarised. A match of 40% may be perfectly acceptable, so long as your work is presented and referenced correctly. Conversely, a match of only 4% may indicate that your work is underpinned by insufficient sources.

This short exercise has been designed to help you interpret Turnitin Originality Reports. This is not a test - this is a tool to help you understand what your Originality Report is showing you and what this means.

There are two sections:

Section 1 tells you what you can expect from a Turnitin Originality Report for different assignment types

Section 2 tells you how to interpret what the Originality Report is showing you.

At the end of the exercise, you will find links to some resources which can help you develop your academic practice.

You may also repeat this exercise at any time.

The Feedback Studio Document Screen

The above image shows a Turnitin Originality Report in the Feedback Studio window. On the right of the image, you will see the tool panel.  Click on the number (the similarity index) to open the list of of matched sources (see below). Each of these is allocated a colour and this colour is used to highlight the matched text in the document. For example in this document, if you look carefully you can see that the text highlighted in red has a small number 19 in its top left hand corner. This indicates that red highlighting is associated with matched source number 19.

The Feedback Studio Document Screen with matched sources

Also in the toolbox on the right is an image of the filter icon. The icon which looks like a funnel (below the one which looks like a bar chart) is the filter icon. I will refer to this throughout the exercise.

The Filter Icon


Now choose the button below which most accurately describes your assignment. If you submit assignments of more than one type, you can return and repeat the exercise as often as necessary.

My assignment is:  Required