Turnitin Feedback Studio has replaced Turnitin Classic. Your new guidance for viewing the Similarity Report in Turnitin Feedback Studio can be found here.
The Similarity Report provides a summary of matching or similar areas of text found in a submitted paper. When a Similarity Report is available to be viewed an icon is placed in the Similarity column of the student class portfolio page. Similarity Reports that have not finished generating will display the text processing within the Similarity column of the student class portfolio page.
Note: Overwritten or resubmitted papers may not generate a new Similarity Report for a full twenty-four hours. This delay is automatic and allows resubmissions to correctly generate without matching to the previous draft.
The paper shown in the Similarity Report is fully formatted and contains any images and graphs included in the original document.
How is My Paper Checked?
Papers submitted to Turnitin may be compared against billions of internet documents, archived internet data that is no longer available on the live web, a local repository of previously submitted papers, and subscription repository of periodicals, journals, and publications. The comparison may be against any or all of these repositories as set on a specific assignment by the instructor of the class. Turnitin may be compared against billions of internet documents, archived internet data that is no longer available on the live web, a local repository of previously submitted papers, and subscription repository of periodicals, journals, and publications. The comparison may be against any or all of these repositories as set on a specific assignment by the instructor of the class.
The comparison document is called a Similarity Report. This document details the matching or similar text between a submission made on Turnitin and the documents the submission was compared against. This document is listed in the instructor’s view of the class assignment inbox.
Similarity Report Availability
At the discretion of the instructor, student users may be able to view the Similarity Reports for their own submissions on Turnitin. This is a preference that is selected on an assignment by assignment basis and may be updated at any time by the instructor. Only the instructor can change this setting.Turnitin. This is a preference that is selected on an assignment by assignment basis and may be updated at any time by the instructor. Only the instructor can change this setting.
Note: If Not Available appears under the Similarity column for the assignment, then Similarity Reports are not available to student users in this assignment. Students wishing to view or receive a copy of the Similarity Report for their submissions must contact the instructor. The determination of authorizing access to this information is in the hands of the instructor and institution.
Interpreting the Similarity Report
Turnitin does not check for plagiarism in a piece of work. Instead, we will check your work against our database, and if there are instances where your writing is similar to, or matches against, one of our sources, we will flag this for your instructor to review. Our database includes billions of web pages: both current and archived content from the internet, a repository of works students have submitted to Turnitin in the past, and a collection of documents, which comprises thousands of periodicals, journals, and publications.Turnitin in the past, and a collection of documents, which comprises thousands of periodicals, journals, and publications.
It is perfectly natural for an assignment to match against some of our database. If you have used quotes and have referenced correctly, there will be instances where we will find a match. The Similarity Score Index (SSI) simply makes your instructor aware of any problem areas in your paper; they will then use this as a tool as part of a larger process, in order to determine if the match is or is not acceptable.
Similarity Index Examples
As an example, you may have submitted a paper to Turnitin in the past. If you included your name in that submission, it is entirely possible that, if your instructor has opted not to exclude small matches, this will be highlighted in your Similarity Report.
Another example may concern a student copying and pasting a chunk of text into their paper, due to a lack of knowledge on the topic they are covering. Their Similarity Index might be 10%.
However, this might be compared to another student who has a firm basis of knowledge for the paper and knows enough to gather information from several sources to quote and reference correctly. Their Similarity Index might be 12%.
Both students will be shown to have matches against our database. However, one of these students copied directly from a website, whereas the other provided properly sourced quotes.
Turnitin empowers your instructor by giving them the tools to differentiate between matches. It also empowers you, as a student, by knowing that your work will be seen through the correct lens. You can find more information about citing the sources you have used here: http://www.plagiarism.org/citing-sources/cite-sources
The Similarity Report icon shows a percentage and a corresponding color indicating where this percentage falls, in terms of matching content.
The higher the percentage, the greater the amount of text in the submission that was highlighted as matching against information in Turnitin’s repositories. The percentage range runs from 0% to 100%. The percentage is generated by the amount of similar or matching text compared to the number of words in the submission in total.
The color of the report icon is linked to one of five tiers; this is based on the amount of matching text found by the repository comparison. The possible similarity index percentage ranges are linked to a corresponding color:
- blue (no matching words)
- green (one matching word - 24% similarity index)
- yellow (25-49% similarity)
- orange (50-74% similarity)
- red (75-100% similarity)
This number is a raw amount of matching completed against the repositories selected by your instructor for the assignment the submission was made to.
Matches Against Citations and Bibliographies
Direct quotations, citations, or bibliography areas of the paper are not automatically excluded. The decision to permanently exclude or disregard matches to these types of text in a paper is made solely by the instructor of the class.Turnitin repository. Direct quotation, citations, or bibliography areas of the paper are not automatically excluded. The decision to permanently exclude or disregard matches to these types of text in a paper is made solely by the instructor of the class.
Warning: These indices in no way reflect Turnitin’s assessment of whether a paper contains plagiarized material or improperly used material. The Similarity Report provides instructors with a tool to more easily locate matching or similar text within the text of a submitted work. The determination and adjudication of proper citation and plagiarism are left solely to the instructor and institution to which the work was submitted. Any questions regarding the definition of plagiarism used at your institution should be directed to the instructor of the class or an appropriate institutional staff member.
Opening the Similarity Report
Similarity Reports are typically completed within ten to fifteen minutes of submissions. This report generation time may vary based on the extreme levels of usage that may occur during certain periods of the academic year or due to very large submissions.
If the Similarity Report viewing preference is set by the instructor to allow students to access the reports, the Similarity Report icon will allow the user to open the report.
Viewing Similarity Reports
The Similarity Report can be viewed in one of four modes. These modes allow users to view and sort the information contained in the Similarity Report in ways better suited to their needs. The four viewing modes for an Similarity Report are:
- Match Overview (show highest matches together): A list of all areas of the paper which have similarity to information in the Turnitin repository. Matches are color coded and listed from highest to lowest percentage of matching word area to the submission. Only the top or best matches are shown, all underlying matches are visible in the Match Breakdown and All Sources modesTurnitin repository. Matches are color coded and listed from highest to lowest percentage of matching word area to the submission. Only the top or best matches are shown, all underlying matches are visible in the Match Breakdown and All Sources modes
- All Sources: Allows a user to view matches between the paper and a specific selected source in the Turnitin repositories. Contains a full list of all matches found rather than the best matches per area of similarity. This listing is exhaustive but will show all matches found, including any that are obscured in the Match Overview by virtue of being in the same or similar areas as other, better matchesTurnitin repositories. Contains a full list of all matches found rather than the best matches per area of similarity. This listing is exhaustive but will show all matches found, including any that are obscured in the Match Overview by virtue of being in the same or similar areas as other, better matches
- Match Breakdown: Displays matches that are obscured by a top source. Allows instructors to compare the match instance of a underlying source with the match instance for a top source
- Direct Source Comparison: An in depth view that shows an area of similarity compared side by side with a specific match from the Turnitin repositories. Not available on all types of repository matchesTurnitin repositories. Not available on all types of repository matches
Similarity Report Contents
The Similarity Report is separated into three main areas:
- document viewer frame - shows the Similarity Index for the report and the title and author of the paper
- paper text - the submitted paper text in its original formatting. Matching text is highlighted in a color that corresponds to the matching source listed on the right side of the Similarity Report
- matching sources/sidebar - the list of matching sources for the highlighted areas of the paper text to the left. The sidebar also displays the Filter and Settings (exclusion options)
The paper information can be viewed by clicking on the information icon at the bottom left of the document viewer.
The paper information contains: the submission id, the date the paper was processed, the word count, the character count, the number of submissions to the assignment, the overall similarity index, and the three repository indices.
Direct Source Comparison
Direct Source Comparison, allows a user to quickly compare matching text to the source of the match in the Turnitin repositories. Using Direct Source Comparison can be done from the Match Overview or the All Sources view mode of the Similarity Report.Turnitin repositories. Matches to other student papers are not available for Direct Source Comparison viewing unless the students are enrolled in your class. Using Direct Source Comparison can be done from the Match Overview or the All Sources view mode of the Similarity Report.
Users can either view the Direct Source Comparison as a glimpse within the paper or as the Full Source Text within the sidebar. The glimpse only provides the matching text within context of a few outlying sentences from the source while the Full Source Text loads in the sidebar and contains the full text of the source and all the match instances.
1. Open an Similarity Report
2. Click on a highlighted area of text on the left hand (student paper) side
3. A pop-up window will appear above the highlighted text displaying the matching text within the source of the match
4. (Optional) Clicking on the url link, available on live internet matches, brings up a view of the live web site within a new browser tab or window
5a. Click on the “x” in the top right corner of the pop-up to close the window
5b. To view the matching text within the full source click on the Expand to Full Text link
6. The Full Source Text view of the source will load into the sidebar
7. If there are multiple matches to this source, click on the arrow icons to quickly navigate through the match instances
8. To exit the Full Source Text View click on the “X” button
TurnitinTurnitin utilizes multiple types of repository in the generation of the Similarity
Reports. There are four types of repository:
- internet repository - billions of active and archived web pages from the internet. Internet sources indicate a date of download on the Turnitin Similarity Report if the match is not found on the most recent download of content from this site.
- periodicals - a repository of frequently updated content from professional journals, periodicals, and publications
- student paper repository - a repository of papers previously submitted by Turnitin users
- institution paper repository - a collection of papers submitted to the institution’s repository
Note: If an area of submission text is matched to a source in the student paper repository on Turnitin, it will be listed as Turnitin, it will be listed as student papers. Direct Source Comparison is not available to students for student paper matches.
Excluding Quoted or Bibliographic Material
If quoted or bibliographic material is flagged as similar or matching, this information can be removed from the Similarity Report. Students are only able to remove quoted or bibliographic material for the duration of the current view of the report. Permanent exclusion of this information must be handled by the instructor.
Please note that the functions for excluding material are approximate and human judgement is the final arbiter for proper quotation or bibliographic reference. Cited material cannot be excluded directly, and quotations can only be excluded if block-indentation or direct quotation marks (“”) begin and end the quotation.
1. Open an Similarity Report
2. Click on the Filter and Settings icon
3. To exclude Quoted or Bibliographic material click the check box next to the Exclude Quotes and Exclude Bibliography exclusion options
4. Click on the Apply Changes button to save the settings
Excluding Small Matches
Users have the ability to exclude small matches by either word count or by percentage. To exclude small matches within an Similarity Report click on the Filter and Settings icon below the sidebar.
The sidebar will load with the exclusion options. Below the Exclude matches that are less than: option enter into either the words or % fields the numerical value for small matches that will be excluded from this Similarity Report. To turn off excluding small matches click on the radio button next to Don’t exclude by size. To save the settings click on the Apply Changes button at the bottom of the sidebar. This feature can be adjusted at any time.
When a student closes an Similarity Report after using the exclude small matches option the Similarity Report will return to the assignment’s default setting for excluding small matches and the students changes will not be saved.
Downloading Reports and Digital Receipts
The Similarity Report or digital receipt can be downloaded to the user’s computer for later reference.
To print/download a report, click on the print icon at the bottom of the Similarity Report. This will prepare a readable, PDF version of the Similarity Report or digital receipt. When downloading a report, the downloaded version created is based on the current view of Similarity Report. For example, clicking the download icon while using the default Match Overview will create a PDF of only the highest matches.
Once a PDF version of the report or digital receipt has been saved to your computer, you may then use your computer’s default PDF viewing application to print the Similarity Report/digital receipt. The downloaded version will no longer have any of the Direct Source Comparison capability and will not be able to show side by side comparisons. The view modes of a downloaded report are not available in the PDF document.
Training Video: Viewing a Similarity Report
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Turnitin is a commercial, Internet-based plagiarism-detection service launched in 1997. Universities and high schools typically buy licenses to use the software-as-a-service website, which checks submitted documents against its database and the content of other websites with the aim of identifying plagiarism. Results can identify similarities with existing sources, and can also be used in formative assessment to help students learn to avoid plagiarism and improve their writing.
Students may be required to submit work to Turnitin as a requirement of taking a certain course or class. The software has been a source of controversy, with some students refusing to submit, arguing that requiring submission implies a presumption of guilt. Some critics have alleged that use of this proprietary software violates educational privacy as well as international intellectual-property laws, and exploits students' works for commercial purposes by permanently storing them in Turnitin's privately held database.
Turnitin's parent company, iParadigms LLC, runs the informational website Plagiarism.org and also offers a similar plagiarism-detection service for newspaper editors and book and magazine publishers called iThenticate. Other tools included with the Turnitin suite are GradeMark (online grading and feedback) and PeerMark (peer-review services). Turnitin released the WriteCycle Suite on February 3, 2009, which bundles the Originality Checking service with its GradeMark online grading tools and PeerMark tools.[jargon] Turnitin released Turnitin2 on September 4, 2010, dropping the "WriteCycle" nomenclature.
The Turnitin software checks for potentially unoriginal content by comparing submitted papers to several databases using a proprietary algorithm. It scans its own databases, and also has licensing agreements with large academic proprietary databases.
The essays submitted by students are stored in a database used to check for plagiarism. This prevents one student from using another student's paper, by identifying matching text between papers. In addition to student papers, the database contains a copy of the publicly accessible Internet, with the company using a web crawler to continually add content to Turnitin's archive. It also contains commercial and/or copyrighted pages from books, newspapers, and journals.
Students typically upload their papers directly to the service for teachers to access. Teachers may also submit student papers to Turnitin.com as individual files, by bulk upload, or as a ZIP file. Teachers can also set assignment-analysis options so that students can review the system's "originality reports" before they finalize their submission. A peer-review option is also available.
Some virtual learning environments can be configured to support Turnitin, so that student assignments can be automatically submitted for analysis. Blackboard, Moodle, ANGEL, Instructure, Desire2Learn, Pearson Learning Studio, Sakai, and Studywiz integrate in some way with the software.
The Student Union at Dalhousie University has criticized the use of Turnitin at Canadian universities because the American government may be able to access the submitted papers and personal information in the database under the USA PATRIOT Act.Mount Saint Vincent University became the first Canadian university to ban Turnitin's service partly because of implications of the Act.[full citation needed]
Lawyers for the company claim that student work is covered under the theory of implied license to evaluate, since it would be pointless to write the essays if they were not meant to be graded. That implied license, the lawyers argue, thus grants Turnitin permission to copy, reproduce and preserve the works. The company's lawyers further claim that dissertations and theses also carry with them an implied permission to archive in a publicly accessible collection such as a university library.
University of Minnesota Law Schoolprofessor Dan Burk countered that the company's use of the papers may not meet the fair-use test for several reasons:
- The company copies the entire paper, not just a portion
- Students' work is often original, interpretive and creative rather than just a compilation of established facts
- Turnitin is a commercial enterprise
When a group of students filed suit against Turnitin on that basis, in Vanderhye et al. v. iParadigms LLC, the district court found the practice fell within fair use; on appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed.
Presumption of guilt
Some students argue that requiring them to submit papers to Turnitin creates a presumption of guilt, which may violate scholastic disciplinary codes and applicable local laws and judicial practice. Some teachers and professors support this argument when attempting to discourage their schools from joining Turnitin.[full citation needed]
iParadigms, the company behind Turnitin, runs another commercial website called WriteCheck, where students must pay a fee to have a paper tested against the database used by Turnitin, in order to determine whether or not that paper will be detected as plagiarism when the student submit that paper to the main Turnitin website through the account provided by the school. The economist Alex Tabarrok has complained that the company "are warlords who are arming both sides in this plagiarism war".
In one well-publicized dispute over mandatory Turnitin submissions, Jesse Rosenfeld, a student at McGill University declined, in 2004, to submit his academic work to Turnitin. The University Senate eventually ruled that Rosenfeld's assignments were to be graded without using the service. The following year, another McGill student, Denise Brunsdon, refused to submit her assignment to Turnitin.com and won a similar ruling from the Senate Committee on Student Grievances.
A few other Canadian universities are currently[when?] in the process of either total or partial ban of this service. On March 6, 2006, the Senate at Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia prohibited the submission of students' academic work to Turnitin.com and any software that requires students' work to become part of an external database where other parties might have access to it. This decision was granted after the students' union alerted the university community of their legal and privacy concerns associated with the use of Turnitin.com and other anti-plagiarism devices that profit from students' academic work. This was the first campus-wide ban of its kind in Canada, following decisions by Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Stanford not to use Turnitin.
At Ryerson University in Toronto, students may decide whether to submit their work to Turnitin.com or make alternate arrangements with an instructor. Similar policies are in place at Brock University in Saint Catharines.
On March 27, 2007, with the help of an intellectual property attorney, two students from McLean High School in Virginia (with assistance from the Committee For Students' Rights) and two students attending Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona, filed suit in United States Circuit Court (Eastern District, Alexandria Division) alleging copyright infringement by iParadigms, Turnitin's parent company. Nearly a year later, Judge Claude M. Hilton granted summary judgment on the students' complaint in favor of iParadigms/Turnitin, because they had accepted the click-wrap agreement on the Turnitin website. The students appealed the ruling, and on April 16, 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed Judge Hilton's judgment in favor of iParadigms/Turnitin.
- ^Christopher Ireland; John English (October 2011). "Let Them Plagiarise: Developing Academic Writing in a Safe Environment (PDF Download Available)". ResearchGate. doi:10.18552/joaw.v1i1.10.
- ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- ^"Turnitin Integrations". iParadigms, LLC. 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- ^McDiarmid, Jess (2006-03-16). "DSU takes on Turnitin.com". Gazette. Dalhousie University. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- ^Halfnight, Drew; Kristina Jarvis; Josh Visser (2006-11-15). "Turnitin risks privacy". Excalibur Online. York University. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- ^Foley & Lardner, Id., pp. 3-5
- ^Foster, Andrea L.; May 17, 2002; Plagiarism-Detection Tool Creates Legal Quandary; The Chronicle of Higher Education; retrieved September 29, 2006
- ^A.V. et al. v. iParadigms, LLC, 562 F.3d 630 (4th Cir. 2009)
- ^Carbone, Nick (2001). "Turnitin.com, a Pedagogic Placebo for Plagiarism". Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
- ^Murphy, Elizabeth (2011-09-09). "Plagiarism software WriteCheck troubles some educators". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- ^"McGill student wins fight over anti-cheating website". CBC News. 2004-01-16. Archived from the original on March 6, 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-15.
- ^Churchill, Liam (2005-12-02). "Students: 2, Turnitin: 0". McGill Daily. Archived from the original on 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2007-04-15.
- ^"Minutes of Meeting"(PDF). Mount Saint Vincent University Senate. 2006-03-06. Retrieved 2009-03-20. [dead link]
- ^Amarnath, Ravi (2006-03-15). "Mount St. Vincent bans Turnitin.com". The Gazette. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- ^Osellame, Julia (2006-04-04). "University opts not to 'Turnitin'". The Daily Princetonian. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- ^"Turnitin.com Information for Students". Ryerson University. 2006-12-05. Archived from the original on 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- ^"Brock Academic Integrity Policy". Brock University. 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- ^Vanderhye, R. (2007-04-16). "A.V., et. al. v. iParadigms, LLC: Amended Complaint for Copyright Infringement"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- ^Hilton, Claude (2008). "Memorandum Opinion"(PDF). United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2010-07-05.
- ^Barakat, Matthew (2008-04-28). "Students appeal ruling favoring plagiarism detection service". Boston.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- ^Wilkinson, Motz, Traxler (2009-04-16). "Appellate Decision"(PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2009-04-19.