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Staff Guidance - Interpreting Originality Reports

What is an Originality Report?

The Originality report highlights text in a student’s paper that matches an online source.

How do I open the Originality Report?

  1. Go into the Minerva module area for the assignment
  2. From the Control Panel, select Module Tools, then select Turnitin Assignments
  3. Select the Title of the assignment to open the Assignment Inbox
  4. Select the percentage score under the Similarity column beside a particular student’s name to open the full Originality Report

Screenshot showing selection of a report from the list of student submissions

In the Assignment Inbox each student’s submission has a percentage score (with colour indicator) under the Similarity column. This represents the proportion of the total text in the assignment which matches other sources. This overall percentage score is known as the Similarity Index.

This ‘at a glance’ guide should not be used as a measure of plagiarism. Even a 1% score could potentially be plagiarised content.

Always check the Originality Report for each paper in order to make a judgement about plagiarism.

How do I interpret the Originality Report?

Select the red numerical score in the similarity toolbar to display the Match Overview panel:

Screenshot showing selection of a match overview

The Match Overview panel shows all of the possible matches to material in the current paper:

Screenshot showing the match overview

  1. The Similarity Index shows the total percentage of matched text as a proportion of the assignment.
  2. Matched text is highlighted on the assignment. Each match is numbered and colour coded in the Match Overview sidebar for easy reference.
  3. The Filter icon can be used to exclude the bibliography, quotes or small matches.

Viewing the source of a match

The Match Overview sidebar shows a list of the individual matches, with a suggested most likely source and a separate percentage score for each of these, as a proportion of the assignment’s total text.

  1. Navigate to a match on a student's assignment:
    Click on one of the matches in the Match Overview sidebar to jump to the highlighted text on the student’s paper
  2. Show an individual match and possible sources:
    Click on the ‘View Match Breakdown’ arrow icon
    Screenshot showing the View Match Breakdown icon location

The Match Breakdown

  1. A full list of alternative online sources Turnitin has identified for the match
  2. The number of times the matched source appears throughout the assignment. Click the arrows on the grey menu bar to move to the location of each match
  3. The Direct Source Comparison pop-up window highlights where the match has been made in the original source text. Click the ‘Full Source View’ icon to see the full text in more detail.
    Screenshot showing the Match Breakdown, labelled a to d and referencing the list above
  4. Click the web link in the Direct Source Comparison window to view the source web page
  5. Click the ‘Full Source View’ icon to see the source text in the side panel

Click the Arrow next to the Match Breakdown heading to return to the Match Overview.

View a match made to another student’s paper

Where a match has been made to a student paper (and you see Submitted to University of… as a match), you will only be able to view the text source of the student paper:

  • If it has been submitted to the same assignment inbox
  • Or if it has been submitted to another assignment inbox in a module you have Instructor permissions on in Minerva

Can I request to see a student paper from another module or institution?

Where the paper has been submitted to another module in Minerva that you don’t have access to, or to another University, you can make a request to view the text of the paper via email.

  1. In the Match Overview sidebar, click the View Match Breakdown arrow icon that appears to show the Match Breakdown
  2. In the Direct Source Comparison pop-up window that appears over the document, click the ‘Submitted to University of...' link
  3. This takes you to the student paper itself if you have permission, or more likely to a page to make a request to see it:
    Screenshot showing dialog used to request a paper, showing a reply to address which must be filled, and a request button
  4. Enter your University email address in the box provided
  5. Click the ‘Send a request to view this paper’ button
  6. All instructors who have interacted with Turnitin on the module where the paper was submitted will automatically receive your request. Turnitin sends them the text of the paper in an email and they are asked to forward the email to the person requesting access. The decision to respond to your request is entirely at the discretion of the instructors enrolled on the source module.
  7. If the instructor decides to reply, you will receive the email with the text of the student paper included

Filter and exclude sources in a report

Applying filters and exclusions will reduce the Similarity Index percentage and refine the number of matches shown in a report.

Filter out the bibliography, quotations and small matches.

  1. Click on the Funnel shaped ‘View / edit filter and settings’ icon at the bottom in the Similarity Toolbar
    Screenshot showing the funnel icon representing the filter and settings
  2. Under Filters and Settings we recommend you:
    • do not exclude quotes
    • do not exclude the Bibliography
    • do not exclude by percentage or number of words. However as an aide to interpretation on an individual assignment, you may exclude matches that are less than a certain number of Words (no more than 7) or a percentage (no more than 2%) of the assignment: enter an appropriate number in the box provided. Note: it is important to consider an appropriate threshold for defining small matches. Percentage thresholds of more than 2% may result in no matches, which may be misleading and may obscure poor academic practice such as paraphrasing.
      Screenshot showing the filter and settings interface, including the exclusions properties
  3. Click Apply Changes to revise the matches shown in the Originality Report

The Similarity Index percentage and the Match Breakdown will be reduced where these filtered matches are removed.

Exclude sources

When viewing a report you can choose to filter out matches from easily explained sources (e.g. correctly referenced text.)
To exclude sources from a report:

  1. Open a source in the Match Breakdown sidebar:
    Screenshot showing the funnel icon representing the filter and settings
  2. Click the Exclude Sources button at the bottom of the side panel
  3. Tick the box next to each of the sources you want to remove for this match
  4. Click the Exclude button
    Screenshot showing the Exclude Button

View the exclusion list and restore sources

To see the sources which have been removed from a report:

  • Click the ‘excluded sources’ button in the Similarity Toolbar

To return an excluded source to the report:

  • Click the ‘excluded sources’ button in the Similarity Toolbar
  • Click the Restore button

Or click Restore All to include all sources in one go

© University of Leeds, incorporating Technology Enhanced Learning Blackboard Guide ‘The Staff Guide to viewing the Similarity Report in Turnitin’, University of Reading, October 2016’. cc-by-nc-sa. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.