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For many of your assignments at uni, you will be required to submit your work via Turnitin.

Turnitin is a program that checks all content of your submission against a worldwide collection of internet sources, academic publications and student work. It identifies any similarities or matches and highlights them for review by your lecturer or tutor when they mark your assignment. You will use Turnitin to submit assignments and view grades and feedback.

Using Turnitin

This video from Student IT Support shows a step-by-step demonstration of accessing a Turnitin submission link, uploading your assessment, accessing your similarity report and checking your grade and feedback. (Duration: 7:29)

Similarity report

The similarity report details the percentage of matching or highly similar text in your assignment. Similarity reports are usually ready in 10-15 minutes of submission. If the assessment is large, or it is a busy time of semester, it may take up to 48 hours.

The following colours highlight the percentage of matching text:

  • blue: no matching text
  • grey: 1-14%
  • green: 15-23%
  • yellow:  24-34%
  • orange: 35-45%
  • red: 46-100%

There is no set percentage that indicates an acceptable level of similarity in a Turnitin report. Different assessment tasks return different amounts of matching text. Some assessments will include legitimate matches and are no cause for alarm.

Legitimate matches may include:

  • the assessment title, topic, question or template
  • direct quotations (some tasks require more quotations than others)
  • reference list (this should match, as it indicates that it has been formatted correctly)
  • key technical or disciplinary terms or phrases that cannot be paraphrased.

If in doubt, consult your lecturer, tutor, or the Pathfinder.

More tips for using Turnitin

In some subjects you can submit your assessment to Turnitin before the due date to check your similarity report. This helps you identify any problems with your use of information, and make adjustments. You may need to increase your use of quotation marks for borrowed information – or maybe you need to work on your paraphrasing. Turnitin can help you learn to use information correctly.

Check with your lecturer or tutor if uploading early is an option. Your first report should be available quickly, but subsequent reports may take at least 24 hours – don’t leave it until the last minute!

Download and save copies of your submission in ‘Current View’ once it has been marked. You can use your valuable feedback to improve all future assessments.

Pathfinder link

Still have questions? Do you want to talk to an expert? Peer Learning Advisors or Academic Skills and Language Advisors are available.