Technology Enhanced Learning at Sussex

Understanding Turnitin Similarity (archived)

A Similarity Report is produced by Turnitin each time a file is submitted for an assessment with a designated e-submission hand in point required for Turnitin.

Important! This page is for assessment processes with Study Direct, used for modules which started during the 2014-17 academic years. Please see the Canvas web pages for information on current processes.


What is a Similarity Report?

Turnitin compares the text within submitted documents against a vast (but not exhaustive) database of online sources to identify matching text and original sources, the results are then highlighted and presented in an online report.This provides a useful aid for students and markers to help identify sources of unoriginal text which can be used to improve feedback and referencing skills.


What is a Similarity Index?

The Similarity Index is a score which represents the percentage of matched text in the Similarity report against the volume of overall text contained in the submitted document. This score does not in itself indicate that the submission contains plagiarism as Turnitin will match text as 'unoriginal' for a variety of reasons, this may include:

  • Quotes and citations.

  • Commonly used phrases and terminology.

  • Essay questions and document templates.

  • Names of people, places, artefacts or publications.

Further investigation and interpretation of the matches highlighted in the report is essential to ensure that appropriate referencing practices and use of sources has been applied.

Who can see the Similarity Report and when?

Reports are generated each time you submit a file, it will typically take a few minutes from the point of submission for Turnitin to produce the report. However, it can take anything up to twenty-four hours to generate. The report can be accessed by the submitting student and staff with access to the module assessment in Study Direct. You can only access your report before the assessment due date and after feedback has been released. The person marking your paper will have access to the report of your latest submission once the assessment due date has passed.

Turnitin Similarity Check in Study Direct

You can use the Turnitin - Similarity Check site in Study Direct to use Turnitin similarity without having to upload your file for e-submission and e-feedback. You may find this useful if you want to check for originality before submission or for documents which do not need to be uploaded for e-submission and e-feedback via Turnitin.

Please note that documents which have been uploaded to this site will not count as a submission and will not be seen by your marker or tutor.

Academic Development & Quality Enhancement FAQs

The following information, relevant to Turnitin is available from the ADQE e-submission FAQs web page.

  • What is Turnitin?
  • How will markers use the Turnitin Similarity Report?
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