E-Learning Unit


Excluding references and quotations from Turnitin reports

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For: StaffApplication: General , TurnitinTagged: Featured

When setting up a Turnitin assignment, you can choose to exclude quotations and/or references from the similarity index and originality report generated by the system. This can potentially reduce “noise” and give a more representative similarity index. However, in order for this to work, the file submitted by the student must be formatted in a particular way.

If you wish to use these features, you will have to ensure that your students are aware of how they should format their work before submitting it.

You should also be aware that, as Turnitin state, “the functions for excluding material are approximate and human judgement is the final arbiter for proper quotation or bibliographic reference.”

Where to find the settings

The settings for excluding quoted material and bibliographies can be found in the “Turnitin Advanced Options” section of the assignment settings screen for a Turnitin assignment. This is the first settings screen you will see when setting up a new assignment.

Advanced Turnitin assignment settings

By default, both options are set to “No” and they cannot be changed after students have started making submissions for the assignment.

Excluding quoted material

If the Exclude quoted material option is set to “Yes” Turnitin will ignore text which:

    1. Is enclosed between double quotation marks


  1. Is indented

Example of quote material

This shows an example of a report in which quoted material has been enclosed in double-quotes. Note that using single quotes will not work.

Example of quoted material

This shows an example of work in which indentation has been used to denote quoted material.

Excluding bibliographies

If the Exclude bibliography option is set to “Yes”, any content appearing in the work after one of the following keywords/phrases will be excluded from the similarity index:

  • references
  • references cited
  • references and notes
  • resources
  • bibliography
  • works cited

The keyword/phrase should appear on a line on its own.

Example of references section

In this example, the heading “References” has been used. All text after this point can be excluded from the Turnitin report.

Excluding quotes and bibliographies after an originality report has been generated

Even if you have not used these settings on the assignment itself, you can still choose to exclude quoted material and/or a bibliography when you are viewing a student’s originality report.

In text only view

Exclude bibliogrphy text only view

Here we are looking at the text only view of an originality report for a piece of student work. The links towards the top of the screen allow you to change what has been included in the report. Clicking on Exclude bibliography will update the originality report.

Updated originality report

Here we can see how excluding the bibliography has changed the similarity score.

In document view

If you are looking at the originality report in document view, you can exclude quoted material or bibliographies by applying filters.

Exclude bibliography document view

You will find the filter icon on the bottom of the window.

Exclude bibliography document view

  1. Check the boxes for the items you wish to exclude
  2. Click on the Apply changes button

Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.

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