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Turnitin Web-Based Student Help Guide: The Originality Report


Quick Notes

  1. The distribution of text matches is more important than the overall similarity index value.
  2. Look for blocks of matching text - where most of a sentence or paragraph is matching (even if a few words don’t match).
  3. Small matches such as in-text citations or short technical terms are usually acceptable.
  4. Generally you can ignore highlighted text from the following sections:
  • The reference list or bibliography of your assignment.
  • Quotations and block quotations that are properly cited and discussed within the text.
  • Assignment titles and tables of contents.
  • Scientific or mathematical formulas
  • Common knowledge within your subject area - check with your tutor if you are unsure
  • Names of organisations
  • Your assignment question

Sample report

Image of a sample Originality report. Elements highlighted on the image inlcude the overall similarity index, download and print, information about the paper, filters, viewing and editing, a text only report, toggling between match overview and all sources, and information about your paper.

What does this report mean?

Assignments submitted to Turnitin generate an Originality Report. This report is the result of comparison between the text in the assignment and a range of sources including web pages, journals,and assignments previously submitted to Turnitin. Any matching or highly similar text discovered is highlighted in the Originality Report.

Similarity does not necessarily mean that you have plagiarised. The Originality Report shows that your assignment contains phrases or sentences that appear in another work. To avoid appearing to have plagiarised, you need to check whether the highlighted sections in your paper are directly copied from a source or contains poorly paraphrased sentences.

Quoting correctly: If the highlighted text is a direct quote from the original source, enclose it with quotation marks and include a correctly formatted reference. In some referencing formats, additional information should also be provided with direct quotations, such as page or paragraph numbers from the original source. More information about referencing can be found on the APA Referencing Guide (link opens in new window).

Paraphrasing correctly: Paraphrasing appropriately means presenting ideas in your own words and your own sentence structure, while still including an appropriate reference. An example of poor paraphrasing is to copy sentences from the source and include them in your paper with superficial changes, such as replacing some words in the sentence with synonyms. This can lead to unintentional plagiarism, as replacing words does not make something original. Instead you should focus on the idea presented in the source and present that idea in your own words and sentence structure in your writing, remembering to include a reference to the source.