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Understanding Turnitin results

Turnitin is not used in isolation to make a judgment on plagiarism, but it does provide information on which an academic judgment is then made.

  • The score received does not automatically determine that plagiarism has been committed - there is no ‘score’ to aim for. The report is interpreted by the marker who compares the submitted paper and the suspected sources and uses academic judgment to come to a view on whether an offence has been committed.
  • Turnitin will highlight quoted material, even if it has been correctly attributed. Provided they have been correctly referenced, this should not be penalised.
  • Common phrases and short pieces of text may show as a match simply as they are in common usage and therefore do not need to be referenced.
  • The sources identified by Turnitin may not be the only place that the material can be found - for example Turnitin may identify Wikipedia as the source, although the material may also be published elsewhere, or a student paper from another institution because the same source text has been used.

How to access the Turnitin report

  • Open the Assignment in Moodle.
  • Click on 'View all submissions'

Turnitin results in assignment

In the image above, you can see 2 file submissions which have had results returned by Turnitin. The top item (1) has been returned with a 100% similarity match (2). For comparison, the second item has been returned with a 0% match (3).

To investigate and understand the Turnitin process which has returned a similarity score, click on the % (3). This will open the Turnitin window.

Turnitin overview window

The Turnitin window shows an overview of the score (1), offers the option to download the current view, digital receipt or the originally submitted file (2), and a reproduction of the submitted work with highlighted areas (3) where a match or matches have been found with another source.

This is then broken down into individual sources (with web links where appropriate), with the amount found in each source listed next to it.



The information on this page relates to Moodle v3.4 and was last updated August 2018.

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