Turnitin Similarity Reports

How to access, download and interpret the Turnitin Similarity Report.

Turnitin is an online web-based program that works by comparing electronically submitted papers to billions of pages of content located on the Internet and proprietary databases as well as the work of other students whose papers have also been submitted into the system. This software is used by many Universities throughout Australia and internationally.

What is a Similarity Report?

Depending on the options selected by your teaching staff, papers submitted to Turnitin may generate a comparison document known as a Similarity Report. This report highlights the matching or non-original text within the document when compared to web pages, electronic journals and other assignment submissions made to Turnitin.

At the discretion of teaching staff, student users may be able to view the Similarity Report for their own submission to Turnitin. This is a preference that is decided by teaching staff, including whether the Similarity Report is available immediately after you submit or after the due date.

Access your Similarity Report

When this option has been enabled, the Similarity Report will be available to you from the assignment submission area.

  1. Open your subject in Canvas and navigate to the assignment.
  2. You will see the assignment details and a Submission section on the right-hand side showing confirmation of your submission time and date. Click Submission Details.
  3. If your Turnitin feedback is available for viewing, you can see it by clicking the Turnitin icon which displays as coloured flag .
Similarity Report
Similarity Report icon on the Assignment submission page
  1. A new window will appear containing your assignment submission showing colour-coded shading where your text has been found to match other sources, a list of those sources, and the percentage similarity to your submitted text.
Student view of Similarity Report
Student view of Similarity Report

It is very important to understand that the Similarity Score does NOT indicate whether plagiarism has taken place. Similarity Reports only indicate non-original text. A high score may contain legitimately cited text, and so is not a problem. Conversely, a low score may contain text that does cause concern.

When papers are submitted into Turnitin, sections of the papers that match other sources are highlighted and identified in the Similarity Report. Turnitin does not make a judgement as to whether plagiarism has occurred. It is the responsibility of your teaching staff to determine the quality of the Similarity Report and to assess whether parts identified by Turnitin as non-original may be reasonably considered as plagiarism.

  1. Click the Similarity Score in the right panel to see the Match overview.
Similarity Score icon
Similarity Score icon displayed in Feedback Studio window
  1. Click a match from the right side of the screen to see that text displayed and highlighted within your assignment.
  2. Click the flag on any highlighted text within your assignment to see identified sources displayed in a pop-up box.
Similarity match
Highlighted text showing similarity match
  1. You can also select All sources (right panel) to see every source that contains the matched text. The Similarity Score (the % match you receive) does not always match the sum of the sources due to overlap in similarity.
All Sources icon
All Sources icon displayed in Feedback Studio window
  1. The Filters and settings button (right panel) lets you alter the matching criteria (affects your view of the Similarity Report only).
Filters and Settings icon
Filters and settings button displayed in Feedback Studio window

Download the Similarity Report

You can download a copy of your assignment for reading offline or as a permanent record of the Similarity Report and written feedback. There are several locations inside Turnitin where you can download: each location offers options to download the ‘Originally submitted format’ (e.g. docx) and ‘Digital receipt’ (proof of submission to Turnitin).

Download from the assignment page

The Assignment Homepage allows you to download the paper you submitted in the original format. However, this screen does not allow for downloading the Similarity Report information or any marking and feedback from teaching staff completed in Turnitin. The download icon appears at the top right of the Assignment screen.

Download assignment
Download assignment from the Submission area

Download from Feedback Studio

Opening the Turnitin Feedback studio (through submissions details as shown above) allows you to download a PDF of your paper with the Similarity Report included (non-original text highlighted and a summary of matches at the end of the document), as well all marking and feedback (if conducted in Turnitin) in list form by selecting "Current View". The download icon appears in the panel on the right of the screen.

Options for download in Feedback Studio
Download icon in Feedback Studio and window showing options for download

This guide was last updated 30 Apr 2020.
Please report any errors or omissions in this guide by submitting an LMS support request.

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