Text-matching software

3. Interpreting the text-matching report

Interpreting text-matching reports is essential. Reports provide an overall matching percentage which indicates how much of the submitted paper matches existing sources in the available databases. Reports also provide a break-down of each individual match indicating the matched text and the source of the match. It is recommended that each individual match is interpreted, with the view to determining whether the matched text constitutes plagiarism or not.

For example:

  • Direct quotes will be highlighted as matched text but are a legitimate use of source material, provided they have been enclosed in quotation marks and their source has been acknowledged correctly.
  • Matching may occur if you have not paraphrased adequately, and your work too closely resembles another person’s work, even if you have not copied text verbatim.
  • Sentences of a generic nature may be matched but would not constitute plagiarism if they are an inadvertent use of common knowledge. (for example, 'Australia is a vast country with a relatively small population.')
Step 1: Open the report from within the draft submission 'My Submission' portal

On the left hand of the screen, you will see your document with colour coding of text matching and on the right hand side, you see a list of the sources where the matches were found. You can click on the matched numbers on the left hand side (Match Overview) to get more information about the source where the match was found. Alternatively, click on the colour coded number on the right hand side for a brief summary of the match. Note that Turnitin will link to the first match it finds, it makes no determination about where the text was first published, or the original author.

Step 1 report

If you click on a match in your document a window will appear showing you the details of the matched source.

Step 2 report

It is important for you to know that the tool does not match against other students’ work in the current class until on the due date. This may mean the report percentage match may change after this date if there is text matching with other students in your class (which could be for quite valid reasons, e.g. two or more people including the assignment question in the document).

If you wish to improve your work and resubmit it to generate another report, you can do so. However, only one (1) report can be generated on any single draft box within a 24 hour period and one (1) report on any single assignment box within a 24 hours period.  So submitting a draft assignment to the draft box does not preclude you from making a final assignment submission, as each box will generate separate reports within a 24 hour period.

Please talk to your teaching staff, or drop into the Learning Lounge in the Library for more information on interpreting the report. It may also prove helpful to see other examples of acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing in the Paraphrasing and quoting study guide.