Understanding Your Similarity Report and Instructor Comments (for Students)

Modified on: Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 2:56 PM

To retrieve your Turnitin report and instructor comments for a Turnitin assignment in Canvas first go to your Grades. Then, click on the Turnitin Assignment name.  Once you have the assignment details page open, click on the percentage score that you received from Turnitin (See, Fig. 1)

Fig. 1, Turnitin Assignment Submission Details

A PDF of your work will appear in the Turnitin Document Viewer.


Fig. 2, Student View of Turnitin Feedback Studio submission

Icon Legend

  1. Access the thumbnail bar
  2. Show active layers
  3. Grading layer
  4. Access instructor feedback
  5. Access the Match Overview
  6. Similarity Index score
  7. Show all sources identified in the Similarity Report
  8. Filters and settings for Similarity Report
  9. e-rater® layer
  10. Access e-rater® feedback
  11. Download the current view, a digital receipt, or the originally submitted paper
  12. View information about the submission
  13. A grade, if it has been assigned


Click the black tab on the left-hand side of the screen to access the thumbnail bar, which allows you to navigate quickly from page to page (See, Fig. 3).


Fig. 3, Page navigation

Similarity Report

Click the Similarity layer (#5 in Figure 2 above, in red) to access your Similarity Report.

Your Similarity Index score (#6 in Figure 2 above) will be displayed in red on the toolbar. The Similarity Index indicates how much of the text in your paper matches text found in the Turnitin database, which includes online journals, websites, and submitted student work. The higher the similarity index, the greater the amount of text in your paper that matches sources found in the Turnitin database.

The Similarity Report will not only provide the similarity index as a summary, it will flag the specific passages that match sources in the database and indicate where the matching text is found. Click on the source number to show the matching source.

Screenshot with popup box showing where text in the student's paper matches a source in the Turnitin database

Fig. 3, The Turnitin Similarity Report allows you to see where passages in your writing match sources found in the Turnitin database.

 IMPORTANT! The Similarity Report is NOT a determination of whether plagiarism has occurred.
  • If your instructor has set up the assignment to allow you to view the Originality Report and revise your work before a final submission, use this information to check that you have paraphrased your work appropriately and cited your sources correctly. See the Plagiarism and Copyright page from MU Libraries for more help. Don’t forget that the Online Writery is a resource for you!
  • If you are receiving your Originality Report as part of your final grade, the determination of whether plagiarism has occurred is at your instructor’s discretion. If your instructor believes that you have plagiarized part of your paper, use this discussion as a springboard for learning how you can improve your paraphrasing and citation skills.

Feedback Layer

Click the feedback layer (#3 in Figure 2 above, in blue) to view your instructor’s feedback for your paper.

e-rater Feedback

If your instructor has enabled the e-rater for this paper, you will find purple comments alerting you to errors in grammar, mechanics, style, and/or usage. Click these comments to access a description of the error and information on avoiding that error in your writing (See, Fig. 5).

Screenshot showing e-rater feedback identifying a potential error in subject-verb agreement.

Fig. 5, e-rater Feedback

If your instructor has inserted an in-line comment, you will see a speech bubble icon where the comment appears.comment-icon.jpgClick the speech bubble to open the comment (See, Fig. 6). Comments might also appear as inline text.

The speech bubble icon has been expanded so that the instructor's comment can be seen: Excellent application of concepts from the readings to your exemplar.

Fig. 6, in-line comment

Downloading Your Turnitin Reports

Click the Download button (#11 in Figure 2) to download the current view, a digital receipt, or the originally submitted paper (See, Fig. 7). For example, if you wish to download all reports, highlight the Grading layer (blue), the Similarity layer (red), and the e-rater® layer (purple), and then click the Download button and choose "Current View" (See, Fig. 8).

Active layers in Turnitin; Similarity, Grading, and e-rater are all active
Fig. 7, active layers
Download options, Current View circled in red
Fig. 8, Download options

Your downloaded PDF file will contain your submitted paper with comments marked; at the end of the paper, you will find a summary of all comments.

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