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Turnitin - How to Interpret the Similarity Score
The color of the similarity score is based on the amount of matching text in a document.
What do the similarity score colors indicate?
The percentage range is 0% to 100% with the possible similarity groupings being:
- Light blue: 0% matching text
- Dark blue: 1-24% matching text
- Yellow: 25-49% matching text
- Orange: 50-74% matching text
- Red: 75-100% matching text
A document's quotes and bibliography can be excluded from the similarity score.
Similarity scoring scenarios
A high similarity score does not always suggest that a piece of writing has been plagiarized, just as a low similarity score does not always indicate that no plagiarism has occurred. Consider the following scenarios:
- Submitting a document of considerable size could result in a 0% similarity score with a report that still contains matches. This is because the similarity score has been rounded to 0%, rather than being exactly 0%.
- You may have submitted multiple drafts of the same paper to your institution's private repository, meaning your final draft has resulted in a score of 100%. To avoid this issue, we advise that you only submit your final draft to the private repository.
- An individual within your institution has managed to acquire a copy of your document. They submit this document to the institution's private repository and receive a similarity score of 25%. You submit your original document a week later to the private repository but receive a 100% similarity score.
Excluding content from the Similarity Report
Content exclusions can include removing any matches to the bibliography or any places within a document where the author has used quotes.
Note: Changing your settings will only change the setting for future uploads. If required, previously uploaded documents will need to be individually adjusted.
1. Select Settings from the sidebar.
2. Using the checkboxes, select the content types you would like to exclude from all future documents:
- Bibliography: For papers written in English, Turnitin's machine learning algorithm is able to understand what elements of the paper should be excluded and dynamically remove them from the Similarity Report without the need for the uploader to specify a specific bibliography section of their paper. For papers written in a non-English language, Turnitin looks for a beginning and terminating phrase to work out where the bibliography is. Learn more.
- Quotes: Turnitin looks for all content between quotation marks and excludes this text from the report. A list of supported quotation mark types can be found here.
- Citations: Turnitin uses machine learning to check every line in a document. If we find something we can tell is an in-line citation, it won't be included in the Similarity Report. The quoted part of the citation can be removed using Exclude Quotes.
- Small Matches - # Words: Turnitin will filter all matches that are less than or equal to the length of the number of words supplied.
3. Changes should automatically apply, but select the Done button to confirm and close the side-bar.