Originality checking

Turnitin - online tool


Turnitin is a text-matching tool available via Blackboard that provides feedback about the originality of student work through the production of ‘originality reports’.  It shows the percentage of a submission that matches other sources on the internet including a range of electronic journals and existing student papers from subscribing UK institutions.  Originality checking has been shown to enable students to develop their academic writing and referencing skills and reduce the number of incidents of plagiarism.

Turnitin makes no judgement about whether a student has plagiarised.  It does, however, enable your tutors to objectively assess the proportion of a student’s work that is original and identify possible plagiarism and collusion. 

Turnitin examines the originality of student work submitted in a variety of formats including Word, PDF, Excel or PowerPoint.

The upload limit to Turnitin is a single file of 40MB or 400 pages.  Your Module Leader will inform you if you are required to upload any work to Turnitin.

Uploading work to Turnitin
Your Module Leader will confirm if they require you to upload your work to Turnitin in addition to submitting to Blackboard, of for the upload of draft work.

Turnitin is used only for the checking of assessments for the originality of text. If you are uploading final assessments to Turnitin, please be aware that this is not your formal submission for marking.

Assessments must be submitted to the official submission point (e.g. Blackboard, PebblePad or Helpdesk) as specified in the assessment submission instructions. If you are in any doubt, please contact your Module Leader for Faculty Helpdesk.

There’s a range of guidance available to you about using Turnitin. 

About Turnitin (written guidance)

How do I upload work to Turnitin?

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Turnitin Originality Reports
The Originality Report generated by Turnitin indicates if you have cited sources correctly enabling you to make any necessary changes to your draft work before final submission.

The Originality Report is the result of a comparison of the submitted text against potentially billions of pages of active and archived internet information, student work previously submitted to the text matching software, and tens of thousands of periodicals, journals and other publications. Originality Reports provide a summary of matching or highly similar text found in a submitted paper.


turnitin originality report imageThe Originality Report should be used as a tool to develop your academic writing and referencing skills. It is not your goal to get zero per cent matching in your work.

There is no set threshold for an acceptable or unacceptable similarity index because this value can be arrived in different ways. For example, a number of small matches can result in a large overall percentage which is relatively unimportant, but a small overall percentage may be the result of one or two copied paragraphs and this is more significant.

A Turnitin Originality Report can take from a few minutes to 24 hours to generate. The first four times you upload work to the same Turnitin assignment, the report will begin generating immediately. From the fifth time onwards, the report will not start generating until 24 hours after you upload the file. Your Module Leader or tutor will inform you if you can upload a piece of work multiple times.

There’s a range of guidance available to you around interpreting originality checking. 

Interpreting Originality Reports (written guidance)

How do I interpret an originality report?

If you are unable to view this screencast in YouTube, view in Medial.

What if I can't upload my work to Turnitin?
The following FAQ provides guidance when submitting your work to Turnitin.

Q – I can submit my work to the Blackboard submission point but I get a message when uploading to Turnitin that my file is too large.

To note: Not all assessments will require you to upload your work to Turnitin. Your Module Leader will provide you with information as to whether you are required to upload to Turnitin; please check the assessment section on your Blackboard site for information. The requirement to upload to Turnitin is set by the Module Leader and the tool is designed to be used for text-based work so in some cases the Module Leader my not deem this necessary or appropriate.

Turnitin only accepts files of up to 40MB, if the size of your file exceeds this you will not be able to upload to Turnitin. In the first instance, please follow the guidance by your Module Leader on how best to manage the size of your file to see if you can reduce the size of the file to below 40MB and re-submit. If you are still unable to reduce the size of your file to below 40MB please submit your work to Blackboard only and contact your Module Leader to advise you have been unable to submit to Turnitin due to the size of the file.

When systems are down
If you encounter issues when submitting work online or accessing marks and feedback, please contact your Module Leader for advice. If you are unable to submit work online due to system downtime, your faculty will be in touch and provide you with clear guidance on what to do.

If Blackboard becomes unavailable at the time you need to submit your work online, a message will be posted on Blackboard and your faculty will be in touch with further details.