Turnitin Originality Report

Support for staff

Instructors can use the Originality Report in Turnitin to teach proper citation methods and safeguard students' academic integrity.

With Turnitin, teachers can check the originality and citation practices in students' submitted work. Or they can make it accessible, so that students can check their own assignments before they submit them.

This checking can help prevent students submitting plagiarised material.

Identifying plagiarism with Originality Reports

Turnitin Originality Reports are designed to help identify possible plagiarism or instances of incorrect citation of work, and resolve the problem. Originality Reports are most effective when used as an educational tool to raise student awareness about plagiarism issues.

Turnitin does not judge whether a student submission has been plagiarised. The Originality Report does not differentiate between correctly cited references and unacknowledged copying. It only reports text matches, and provides a ranking of submissions, according to the level of text matching with other sources in its database. The instructor or student then analyses the matches and determines whether the level is acceptable.

If students are allowed to pre-check assignments, teachers should discuss potential issues with them beforehand. If teachers are the ones analysing the originality reports, they should discuss any issues they identify with the relevant student.
All incidences of possible plagiarism, their investigation and consequences, are subject to the bylaws, policies and procedures of the University.

Visit the UNSW Governance Support site to view the UNSW staff guidelines on student academic integrity and managing plagiarism.

If a paper submitted to your course later matches a paper submitted in another course or at another institution, the other instructor may contact you. See: guidelines in the event another Turnitin user contacts you.

How the Originality Report works

Turnitin maintains a vast repository of:


  • submitted student papers
  • Internet pages (both past and present)
  • books
  • subscription journals and
  • periodicals


This database has been compiled by collecting student submissions, indexing internet content and forming content partnerships with institutions such as libraries and digital reference collections. Content is stored in secure in-house databases.

When a teacher or student submits an assignment for comparison it is checked against all the material in the Turnitin databases and becomes part of the database, so that other papers can be checked against it.

The Originality Report contains links to all instances of matching sources. It highlights and colour codes the matches according to the percentage similarity.

The following sample similarity report shows you what a Turnitin Originality Report offers:

IMPORTANT - Text matches don't always mean plagiarism

Turnitin Originality Reports are designed to help identify possible plagiarism or instances of incorrect citation of work, and resolve the problem. OriginalityCheck is most effective when used as an educational tool to raise student awareness about plagiarism issues.

OriginalityCheck does not judge whether a student submission has been plagiarised. The Originality Report does not differentiate between correctly cited references and unacknowledged copying. It only reports text matches, and provides a ranking of submissions, according to the level of text matching with other sources in its database. An instructor or student then analyses the matches and determines whether the level is acceptable.

If students are allowed to pre-check assignments, teachers should discuss potential issues with them beforehand. If teachers are the ones analysing the originality reports, they should discuss any issues they identify with the relevant student.

All incidences of possible plagiarism, their investigation and consequences, are subject to the bylaws, policies and procedures of the University.

Visit the UNSW Governance Support site to view the UNSW staff guidelines on student academic integrity and managing plagiarism.

Teachers, click here for guidelines in the event of another Turnitin user contacting you.