Originality Reports (Turnitin)

The University uses originality checking software for the submission of assignments.

Turnitin will check the submission against a repository of journals, publications and internet pages in order to detect matching text. The report will include a percentage, providing an indication of where some portions of identified text may not be original. 

A guide on accessing and understanding originality reports, and interrogating matched sources can be found on the E-Learning SharePoint.   

Understanding Percentages

The originality report will identify matching text. It may identify common words and it does not separate correctly cited sources from plagiarised text.

low percentage indicates a low incidence of matching text. A low percentage may mask academic misconduct if:

  • the copied text is a key sentence from a longer work (eg research findings, key ideas or conclusions)
  • paraphrased or summarised text, including ideas have been used without acknowledgement

high percentage of matching text may indicate:

  • poor academic writing
  • an overuse of quotations
  • plagiarism.

A 100% match may indicate the accidental resubmission of work, incorrect settings in the assignment settings (check preferences) or outright copied or purchased work.

What Percentage Matters?

It is important to use academic judgement on each individual piece of work. Ask yourself:

  • Is this work at the standard I expect from this student?
  • Has the student attempted to cite source material?
  • Are there instances of sudden changes in voice, style, formatting or argument?
  • Is the matching text from a genuine academic source or from poor internet research?
  • Are the sources in the course reference list?
  • Is this poor academic writing or academic misconduct?

As an Academic Marker making a referral for an alleged breach of academic misconduct, it is not recommended that you rely entirely on an originality report to determine plagiarism.

If you are unsure about an originality report, it is recommended that you contact the Module Convenor or Chair of the Academic Misconduct Committee within your Division to discuss your referral.

Staff may also wish to view the E-Learning video guide Understanding Turnitin's Similarity Report

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