How Can You Ensure Originality in Your IB Extended Essay?

Have you ever wondered what makes an IB extended essay stand out? From my experience as an experienced IB writer, I can tell you that originality is key. It’s what breathes life into your essay and makes it uniquely yours. So, how do you add that spark of originality to your IB extended essay? Let’s examine that together.

What Are the IB Extended Essay Requirements?

First and foremost, let’s get a clear picture of the IB extended essay rubric and requirements. It’s not just another school assignment; consider it an in-depth academic venture, allowing you to investigate a topic of your choice thoroughly.

In my extensive experience with the IB curriculum, I’ve noticed that while many students excel in research, originality often presents a more nuanced challenge. The general IB criteria demand that your essay should be not only well-researched but also distinctly your own. Showcasing your unique viewpoint is what truly differentiates your essay.

To help you better grasp these requirements, consider the following key points:

  • Research Depth. Your essay should demonstrate comprehensive research. It means looking at primary and secondary sources and understanding the material.
  • Critical Thinking. Display your ability to analyze and evaluate your research. It is where your voice starts to emerge.
  • Originality and Creativity. Your essay should reflect your ideas and perspectives, offering something fresh and insightful.
  • Structural Coherence. Ensure your essay has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Each part should seamlessly connect to the next, making your argument easy to follow.
  • Adherence to Guidelines. Familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines of the IB extended essay. It includes word count, formatting, and citation rules.
  • Reflection. The IB places a strong emphasis on reflection. Your essay should include insights into your learning process and how your understanding evolved during your research.

Remember, the IB extended essay is your chance to shine as a young scholar. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate what you know and how you think and express your academic curiosity.

The Role of Originality in Your Extended Essay

Why is originality such a critical component in the IB extended essay? To put it plainly, it’s the hallmark of your intellectual independence. It’s about letting your academic voice echo through each word and sentence. From my extensive experience in writing these essays, I’ve learned that originality transcends the mere avoidance of plagiarism. It’s about crafting a narrative that is inherently yours, a narrative that resonates with your unique insights and perspectives. So, originality in your essay does several vital things:

  • Presenting original ideas or novel perspectives on existing topics showcases your ability to think critically and independently. It’s a skill highly valued in academic circles and beyond.
  • Original contributions mean you are not just repeating what others have said. You are adding something new to the discussion, essential for advancing knowledge.
  • Your unique approach shows that you are not just completing an assignment but are genuinely engaged with the topic. This personal connection often makes your essay more compelling and insightful.
  • By respecting the principle of originality, you uphold academic standards and contribute to a culture of integrity in research and writing.
  • The skills you develop to create an original, A-grade extended essay lay a solid foundation for future academic or professional projects, where originality and innovation are key.

In my opinion, the path to creating an original essay also involves deeply exploring your thoughts and ideas. It’s about questioning, challenging, and sometimes even reshaping existing knowledge.

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What Is Considered Plagiarism in an Extended Essay?

Plagiarism in the context of an extended essay or any academic work is a serious ethical issue. It’s essential to understand what constitutes plagiarism to ensure the integrity and originality of your essay. As a seasoned essayist, I’ve seen various forms of plagiarism, and I can guide you on what to avoid and how to maintain academic honesty in your work.

Direct Plagiarism

This is the most straightforward form of plagiarism. It occurs when you copy someone else’s work word-for-word without providing proper attribution. It can include copying and pasting from a book, article, website, or even another student’s work. Direct plagiarism is unethical and easy to detect with today’s plagiarism-checking tools.

Paraphrasing Without Crediting

Simply rewording or paraphrasing someone else’s ideas without giving them credit is also considered plagiarism. Even if you’ve changed a few words here and there, if the idea or information is not originally yours, you must acknowledge the source. Remember, the idea or information needs to be credited, not just the specific wording.

Mosaic Plagiarism or Patchwriting

This type of plagiarism involves taking phrases, sentences, or ideas from multiple primary or secondary sources and piecing them together to create a new text. It can be misleading as it presents a facade of originality, while in reality, it is a composite of other authors’ work without proper attribution.


Self-plagiarism might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a real concern. It happens when you reuse substantial parts of your previously submitted work (like an essay or assignment) without permission or acknowledgment. Each assignment should be original and created specifically for its intended purpose.

Inaccurate Citation

Failing to cite sources correctly can also be considered plagiarism. It includes incorrect referencing or omitting necessary citation information. Accurate citation is crucial, as it credits the original authors and allows others to follow your research.

Using Unauthorized Material

Using unauthorized material in an essay, such as unauthorized collaboration with others, purchasing essays, or using pre-written essays, is a severe form of plagiarism. Creating your work is essential, and you should not use others’ work as your own.


Collusion involves unauthorized collaboration with others. While seeking help or feedback is okay, the final work must be your own. Submitting a collaboratively written essay without permission is considered plagiarism.

Strategies to Ensure Originality in Your IB Extended Essay

As an experienced IB writer, I want to share some key tips that can guide you in writing an essay that meets academic standards and reflects your distinctive voice and perspective.

1. Choose a Unique Topic or Angle

Selecting a topic that genuinely interests you, especially one that hasn’t been extensively explored, can significantly elevate the originality of your essay. Consider looking at a familiar subject through a new lens or tackling a less conventional topic. By choosing an extended essay topic that resonates with you, your passion and interest will naturally feed into the depth and originality of your work.

2. Develop Your Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the core of your essay. It should reflect your stance on the topic and encapsulate your unique interpretation of the research and data. A well-crafted thesis is more than an opinion; it’s a well-thought-out position demonstrating your analytical skills and understanding of the subject. Your thesis should serve as the guiding beacon for your entire essay, shaping your research and argumentation.

3. Conduct Thorough Research

To ensure originality, your research should be exhaustive and varied. Don’t limit yourself to easily accessible or popular sources. Explore niche books specialized journals, and conduct interviews to uncover unique insights. Diverse and comprehensive research will enrich your essay and provide a robust foundation for your original ideas.

4. Keep Detailed Research Notes

Organizing and documenting your research process is crucial for maintaining originality. Detailed notes help you keep track of your sources, thoughts, and argument development. This meticulous approach ensures that your synthesis of the information is unique and that your final work accurately reflects your understanding and interpretation of the topic.

5. Write in Your Voice

Your writing style is a critical aspect of originality. Strive to express your ideas in your own words and develop a voice that is distinctly yours. While it’s important to maintain academic rigor, your narrative style should shine through. This approach makes your essay more engaging and ensures that it is a true reflection of your intellectual identity.

6. Avoid Unconscious Plagiarism

Understanding what constitutes plagiarism is crucial in maintaining the originality of your essay. Familiarize yourself with different forms of plagiarism and use reliable tools to check your work. Ensuring your essay is free from unintentional similarities is crucial in upholding academic integrity and showcasing your unique perspective.

7. Seek Feedback Early and Often

Engaging with teachers, mentors, or peers for feedback can be immensely beneficial. They can offer fresh perspectives, suggest improvements, and help identify areas where your work may inadvertently mirror existing sources. Regular feedback can help refine your ideas and strengthen the originality of your essay.

8. Regularly Review and Reflect on Your Work

Consistently reviewing your work throughout the writing process is essential. It involves critically evaluating your arguments and assessing whether you’re presenting new ideas or reiterating existing ones. Reflection helps ensure that your essay remains original and aligned with your thesis.

9. Use Citations Effectively

Proper citation is not only about avoiding plagiarism; it’s also a way to demonstrate your engagement with various sources. Effective citation involves acknowledging the ideas of others while highlighting how your perspective differs or builds upon these ideas. Properly crediting sources reinforces the originality of your argument and displays your scholarly diligence.


Remember, originality is the soul of your paper. It’s what makes your work authentically yours. With these tips and your unique voice, I’m confident that you’ll craft an essay that not only meets the IB criteria but also showcases the original thinker that you are. Happy writing, and remember that our experts at IB EE Writing Service are always ready to help you.

Valerie Green

Valerie Green

Valerie Green is a dedicated educator who spends her time helping high school and college students succeed. She writes articles and guides for various online education projects, providing students with the tools they need to excel in their studies. Friendly and approachable, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of students.

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