About Turnitin Similarity

A Similarity Report is produced by Turnitin each time a file is submitted for an assessment with a designated e-submission hand in point required for Turnitin.

How to access Similarity reports

You can access Similarity reports by selecting the similarity percentage score from the assignment page in Canvas. Reports are generated for each submission, the report can be accessed by the submitting student and staff with access to the module assessment in Canvas.

Understanding Similarity reports

Turnitin compares the text within submitted documents against a vast (but not exhaustive) database of online sources to identify matching text and original sources. The results are then highlighted and presented in an online report. This provides a useful aid for students and markers to help identify sources of unoriginal text which can be used to improve feedback and referencing skills.

Understanding Similarity percentage scores

The Similarity percentage score represents the percentage of matched text in the Similarity report against the volume of overall text contained in the submitted document.

This score does not in itself indicate that the submission contains plagiarism, as Turnitin will match text as 'unoriginal' for a variety of reasons, including:

  • quotes and citations
  • commonly used phrases and terminology
  • essay questions and document templates
  • names of people, places, artefacts or publications.

Further investigation and interpretation of the matches highlighted in the report is essential to make sure appropriate referencing practices and the use of sources has been applied.


Last updated: 11 November 2022

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