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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Understanding Turnitin


Understanding Turnitin

If you are submitting written assignments for your course, your instructor will use a tool called Turnitin to make sure you haven’t plagiarised in your work. Learn more about the feedback provided by Turnitin.

What is Turnitin?

RMIT uses a plagiarism detection tool called Turnitin for all written material.

Play the video to learn how Turnitin works:

When you submit your work to Turnitin, a similarity report will be generated. Your instructor will review this report to help them determine whether you have referenced everything correctly, or whether you might have plagiarised. You can also use this report to check your own references and make sure you haven't accidentally plagiarised.

Understanding the similarity report

The similarity report shows the amount of text that matches other texts, including websites, academic journals, and material previously uploaded to Turnitin. This may include work that you've submitted to RMIT in the past, as well as assignments from other institutions around the world.

The similarity report will tell you the percentage of your text that matches other materials. The match overview section highlights portions of text that match or are very similar to sources already on Turnitin. How the text matches are spread out is more important than the percentage. If you have large chunks of text which are highlighted, this could mean that more careful paraphrasing is needed. In some cases, you can make changes and upload your work again to produce a new similarity report. Check your course guide on Canvas to see if you can do this.

If there are small matches, look at these carefully. Correctly cited and formatted quotes may be highlighted, depending on the Turnitin settings. Additionally, items such as course titles, teacher names, and assignment titles may be highlighted in Turnitin.

Reducing the similarity score

These tips can help you reduce your similarity score:

  • If chunks of text are highlighted, then you need to paraphrase further as the wording is still too close to the original source.
  • Check that your quotations have double quotation marks. Single marks will always be ignored by Turnitin.
  • Check the settings. You can reduce the percentage immediately by excluding quotations and your reference list. Note that changing the settings does not impact what your instructor sees.