TITANium Resource CenterADDITIONAL GUIDESTurnitin Grades and CommentsHow do I read the Turnitin Originality Report?

How do I read the Turnitin Originality Report?

You will learn how to read the Turnitin Originality Report in your Turnitin assignment. Use the Originality Report after your students have submitted their paper using the Turnitin assignment to obtain a quick, simple guide which can give you clues as to the sources of the student's work. In order to have an Originality Report generated for each student, you must set up your Turnitin assignment as described in this article.

Turnitin assignment link is selected.

2. The Turnitin Assignment Inbox will display.

To the far-right of each student's name, you will see a color bar (in this case a greenish-yellow).

Turnitin Assignment Inbox

3. Identify the meaning of the color of the report icon.

The color of the report icon is linked to one of five tiers of the Similarity Index. This is based on the amount of matching text found by the repository comparison. The possible similarity index percentage ranges are linked to a corresponding color:

  • blue (no matching text)
  • green (one matching word to 24% similarity index)
  • yellow (25-49% similarity index)
  • orange (50-74% similarity index)
  • red (75-100% similarity index)

The overall similarity index and the corresponding color scaling of the icons provides a basic indication of how much information contained in a specific submission is matched to other sources in the Turnitin repository. This number is a raw amount of matching done against the repositories selected for the assignment the submission was made to. Direct quotation, citations, or bibliography areas of the paper are not automatically excluded. The decision to permanently exclude or disregard matches to these types of text in a paper is made solely by the instructor of the class.

the report icon.

4. Click on the color bar to view the Originality Report.

You can click on either the color bar or the percentage score.

color bar

5. The Turnitin Document Viewer window will open.

If you do not see the newly opened window you may need to disable your web browser's pop-up blocker. The Turnitin Document Viewer displays the original student work in the left-hand pane and the Originality Report in the right-hand pane of the window.  

 Turnitin Document Viewer

6. Examine the Match Overview display.

The Similarity Report will show the Match Overview by default.  

The Match Overview (show highest matches together) is a list of all areas of the paper which have similarity to text in the repositories the paper is being compared with. By default, the student work is compared to the:

  • Student paper repository
  • Current and archived web site content, and
  • Periodicals, journals and publications.

The repository choices can be adjusted using the Optional settings in Turnitin.

Matches are numbered, color-coded, and listed from highest to lowest percentage of matching text to the submission. Only the top or best matches are shown, all underlying matches are visible in the "Match Breakdown" and "All Sources" modes.

Match Overview

7. Click on the arrow to view the Match Breakdown.

Hover your mouse over the first source listed in the Match Overview column. An arrow will appear. Click on that arrow to view the Match Breakdown for that source.

 Match Breakdown.

8. View the Match Breakdown.

The student paper will scroll to where there is a text match for this source. The original source will show in context. Match Breakdown displays matches that are obscured by a top source, and allows instructors to compare the match instance of an underlying source with the match instance for a top source.

Match Breakdown.

9. Click on Full Source View.

 Full Source View.

10. The Full Source Text will display.

Full Source Text

11. Click on the Originality tab to return to Match Overview mode.


12. Click on the All Sources icon.

 All Sources icon.

13. Click on a Source to see more details.

The All Sources mode allows you to view matches between the paper and a specific selected source in the Turnitin repositories. It contains a full list of all matches found rather than the best matches per area of similarity. This listing is exhaustive but will show all matches found, including any that are obscured in the "Match Overview" by virtue of being in the same or similar areas as other, better matches.


14. Detailed information appears.

In this example, there are three student works submitted to Turnitin within the "Submitted to Columbia Southern University" match, so this section has expanded to show the three matches. These matches can be clicked on to explore how each match differs.

Matched sources found on the Internet and other public sites are instantly viewable, but since this example is for a student submitted work, permission must be obtained to view it.

Detailed information

15. Hover your mouse and click on the arrow that appears.

Hover your mouse

16. Click on Send a request to view this paper.

If you desire to investigate further, you can submit a request to the instructor of the course where a specific student paper was submitted. That instructor may or may not grant you access to view it.

Send a request

Article Summary

You have now learned how to view the Originality Report in your Turnitin assignment.

Here are some resources regarding plagiarism prevention: