How to make sense of the Originality Report

How to Make Sense of the Originality Report

Originality Reports are documents Turnitin produces to identify incidences where the system has found a match between a student’s coursework submission and Turnitin’s database of previously submitted student papers and other online text sources including internet websites and published books, periodicals and journals.

If your tutor has set up your Turnitin assignment to generate Originality Reports for coursework submissions these documents will become available to view shortly after you have submitted your work. Originality Reports for your first FOUR  submissions to the Turnitin assignment collector will be generated immediately. For your fifth and subsequent submissions it may take up to 24 hours to process. Please note however, you do not have to wait for your submissions' Originality Reports to be generated before making a further submission - you can make further submissions regardless.

Please watch the following story of student Ada submitting her assignment...

How to access your Turnitin Originality Report


1. Log into UniHub, navigate to your Turnitin assignment on your module and click on the assignment link.

2. To view the Originality report, click on the coloured rectangle in the Similarity column.

3. The Turnitin Feedback Studio Viewer opens.

4. Click on the number in the red cluster of buttons. This will show you the matches found with your paper. The right hand menu will open revealing a list of possible matches Turnitin has found to your paper. The Match Overview lists the primary sources of work within the turnitin database of digital content that match parts of the student submission. Each of these matches has a percentage figure against it, and that these combined matches make up the total Similarity figure for the submission that is displayed within the header of the document viewer. The text within the submission that matches the turnitin repository database is highlighted. Each primary match is given a number and a colour, and these numbers and colours will correspond with the numbers and colours within the Match Overview list.

5. You can navigate to the matches within the paper by clicking on the numbers displayed within the Match Overview column. Additionally, you can click on the ">" symbol to the right of the percentage score to get a full match breakdown. The full match breakdown lists a all the matching sources Turnitin can find, which may include a source that you may have used. In this particular example, match number 3 was found to match with three published sources, none of which were the original source but whose authors all correctly quoted the same piece as our student, Ada. Note also that Ada correctly quoted the piece by putting speech marks around the quote and then correctly attributed the quote to the author's original paper. Note also that although Ada attributed the quote to the original author, and that the attribution has not been highlighted by Turnitin, it does not mean it is incorrect. Rather it means that Ada is simply the very first person to attribute the quote using this particular referencing style, which is Harvard.

6. In another example, Ada clicks on match number 9. Here we can see a small match. This is a common string of eight words and is known as an incidental match. Such very small matches as these are insubstantial and do not contribute to the scolarly quality of your assignment and your tutors will usually disregard them.

7. References. Please make sure you reference correctly, using the correct referencing style you have been advised to use in your course and subject area. When you reference correctly, your references will usually be picked up as matches, especially if other students and authors have also used those journals, books, or other types of publications in their own papers. These references' percentage scores contributing to the overal percentage will also be disregarded by your tutor.

Interpreting the Originality Report

Turnitin has highlighted the matches it has found within the submission and has generated both a total similarity percentage figure and provided a useful breakdown of this figure. It is now your task to ensure several things:

1. Ensure that any matches Turnitin has found have been accounted for within the references or bibliography are included as part of the submission.

2. If any of the matches are not properly referenced within your submission this may be judged to be plagiarism, and you will need to deal with the incidence or incidences of such matches in an appropriate manner.

In conclusion, you are strongly advised to use the Turnitin originality report as a tool with which you can check your written coursework to identify any areas of potential plagiarism.  In identifying and resolving these issues with the help of the Turnitin Originality report you will able to ensure that the work you are submitting is both academically sound and properly referenced.

Last modified: Thursday, 15 August 2019, 10:33 AM