Answered By: I C
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016     Views: 879

Turnitin does not identify plagiarism. Originality Reports are merely tools which help identify sources containing text similar to submitted papers. Matching may represent legitimately cited references. Qualitative academic judgement together with knowledge of particular subject areas is required prior to any judgements being reached.

 For information on how to access an Originality Report, please refer to the relevant FAQ.

 What is an acceptable percentage of matching text?

 The percentage of original writing will vary depending on the type of writing and the subject area involved. It is important to use your own academic judgment in each individual piece of work.  The similarity score indicates the percentage of material in the assessment that can be found in other sources. So, it will pick up things like:

  • The Cover Page
  • The Assessment Question (because other students have used it too)
  • Correctly referenced quotes
  • Incorrectly referenced quotes
  • Common phrases
  •  Authors’ names
  • Titles of books
  •  Bibliographies or Reference Lists

What do I do with matching text?

 The possible sources of matching text must be carefully examined to determine whether the student has correctly cited the source or whether the matching text is likely to be plagiarism or merely commonly used words.

 1.  If the section of matching text has a citation (direct quote or in-text) then the issue is poor paraphrasing as matching text is the same or similar to the matching source and no or little original writing has occurred.  This is not plagiarism as the content has been cited




2.  If the section of matching text has no citation, it means content has been used without acknowledgment or minimal original writing has occurred and may be considered as an incident of plagiarism.  Please refer to the Unit Coordinator for guidance.

The following checklist may be helpful:

  • Has the student attempted to correctly reference the source?
  • Has the student attempted to paraphrase, summarise or quote using quotation marks?
  • Does the reference list match the in-text citations or footnotes?
  • Does the reference list match any sources shown in the originality report?
  • Are there long sections of completely unreferenced text?
  • Is the referencing style used consistent throughout?
  • Are there any unexplained changes in font or layout?
  • Are there any inconsistencies in writing style or 'voice'?

 Locating matching student papers from Western Sydney University

Student matches are shown as an accumulation. You must click on the arrow in the ‘Match Overview’ to see student paper breakdown.

 All past Western Sydney University student papers are retrievable.  Double click on the section matching text and click on the link: ‘Submitted to Western Sydney University’.  Follow the on-screen prompts to view the past papers.

 When comparing student papers, you will need to review matching content and determine if matches are just similar wording (e.g. from lecture notes), jargon, two students poorly paraphrasing from the same source, or using the same direct quote.


For further assistance, please contact the Academic Integrity Officer.

For technical help with Turnitin please contact the IT service desk


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