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Avoiding Plagiarism

Webinar: Interpreting the Similarity Report


From the Office of eLearning: Turnitin Feedback Studio is a service that checks papers for originality against websites, student papers, periodicals, and journals. Students upload their papers to, and an originality report is returned to the instructor. The instructor is able to choose whether or not the originality report is displayed to students. Faculty are able to request an account by contacting elearning@udayton.eduStudents are granted access to submit papers when their instructor creates a class and an assignment.

Reading the Similarity Report

Remember that Turnitin simply identifies similarities! This means that the reviewer still needs to look at most of the identified matches to see if the student properly quoted and cited the material.

  • One can skip basic phrases or common expressions of speech. For example, it is hard to find an original way to give birth and death dates of a famous person.
  • Even if the passage is properly quoted and cited, it is still important to click on the source number that gives a link to the original text, as the source may show that the student has actually copied more than what Turnitin identified. Different spellings and transpositions of word order are not a similarity that Turnitin identifies. Turnitin's similarity match will also show breaks in a match due to page numbers or computer symbols, when the text is actually a continuous match.
  • If the footnote in the paper is also a match to the same source for the quote, then it is possible that the student has actually copied the passage and the footnote from the source. Even if a note does not show as a match, look at the original source to see if the citation had been given in the source simply in text.

There are at least two ways to review a Turnitin report within "Feedback Studio":

  1. Scroll through the document page by page to see what similarities are identified.
  2. Use the "Match overview" option on the right sidebar that shows what percent of the paper matches a single source and gives the option to review all the matches to each source. This is helpful to identify a student's use of the structure of a source, in addition to the actual words.

Reviewing the paper both ways will provide the most complete evaluation.

Be aware that sometimes more than one source will be identified for the same passage. Sometimes the student's paper will identify a different one than Turnitin does but the difference could refer to the student’s source that could be different from the source where Turnitin found it.

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