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How to Avoid Plagiarism in Your Essay?

how to avoid plagiarism

Hello, budding scholars! As a seasoned IB writer, I’ve walked through the complicated world of academic writing and learned a thing or two about maintaining integrity in your work. Today, I’m excited to share my insights on how to avoid plagiarism in essays.

Incremental Plagiarism Definition

From my experience, one of the subtler pitfalls in academic writing is incremental plagiarism. It’s a term that might not be widely discussed, but you must understand it. So, incremental plagiarism refers to copying small portions of text from multiple sources and combining them into a new document without proper citation or acknowledgment. This type can be particularly insidious because it might not be immediately obvious. It involves taking bits and pieces from various sources, often slightly rewording them, and then integrating them into one’s work to appear original.

The danger with incremental plagiarism lies in its subtlety. IB students or writers might do this unintentionally, especially when researching heavily and taking notes from different articles or books. They might integrate these notes into their writing, forgetting to credit the sources. Over time, these small acts of plagiarism accumulate, resulting in significantly unoriginal work that violates academic or professional integrity.

What is a good rule to follow to avoid plagiarism in this case? So, it’s crucial to keep track of all sources and ensure that any direct quotes, ideas, or data not your own are appropriately cited. Paraphrasing should also be done thoughtfully, ensuring you genuinely process and reinterpret the information, not just altering a few words here and there. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and provide citations whenever there is any doubt.

How to Avoid Plagiarism: Essay Writing

As a seasoned writer with extensive experience in the International Baccalaureate program, I feel compelled to share some invaluable insights and tips with you, the dedicated IB students.

Research and Note-Taking

Adequate research is fundamental. In my practice, I always gather diverse sources, ensuring my understanding of the topic is well-rounded. It’s crucial to keep meticulous records of these sources. I’ve found that organizing notes and marking where ideas originate helps track what needs to be cited. Also, try to use annotated bibliographies.

Paraphrasing and Quoting

Paraphrasing is a skill that, in my opinion, is essential for any IB student. It involves expressing the same idea in different words. However, it’s vital to do this without altering the original meaning. Also, remember that even when paraphrasing, you must cite the source. Direct quotations are more straightforward but equally significant. Use them sparingly and only when the original wording is crucial. And, of course, always provide accurate citations.

Citation Techniques

Citing sources is non-negotiable. According to general IB criteria, any fact, idea, or data that is not common knowledge and is not your original thought must be attributed to its source. Familiarize yourself with the citation style required by your IB program, be it APA, MLA, or Chicago, and use it consistently throughout your work.

Unique Voice

Developing your unique voice is not only about avoiding plagiarism but also about enhancing the quality of your work. The more you read and write, the more you can express ideas in a way that reflects your understanding and perspective. It is what makes your writing genuinely yours.

Plagiarism Checkers

In this digital age, plagiarism checkers are invaluable tools. Before submitting any essay, I always use a plagiarism checker. It helps identify any unintentional similarities with existing texts, allowing me to make necessary revisions to ensure the originality of my work.

How Do Plagiarism Checkers Work?

Plagiarism checkers are sophisticated tools widely used in the academic and professional world to ensure the originality of written work. As someone deeply involved in academic writing, particularly in IB programs, I’ve seen firsthand how these tools have become indispensable in maintaining academic integrity. Understanding how these checkers work can be insightful, especially for students who strive to produce original content.

Essentially, plagiarism checkers compare the submitted text to a vast existing content database, including published works, academic papers, and web pages. Here’s a breakdown of the processes involved:

  • Text Parsing. Initially, the submitted document is broken down into smaller segments or phrases. This process, known as text parsing, prepares the text for a more detailed analysis.
  • Database Comparison. Each segment of text is then compared against a database. This database typically includes many sources such as books, journals, websites, and previously submitted papers.
  • Matching Phrases. The checker looks for exact matches or closely similar phrases. It’s not just about finding word-for-word plagiarism but also identifying paraphrased content that closely resembles the source material.
  • Percentage Match. The software calculates the percentage of the text that matches other sources. A higher percentage often indicates a higher possibility of plagiarism.
  • Detailed Report. Most plagiarism checkers provide a detailed report highlighting the parts of the text that match other sources and the original sources of these matches.
  • Contextual Analysis. Advanced checkers go a step further by analyzing the context of the matched text to determine if the similarities are coincidental or intentional.

Despite their effectiveness, plagiarism checkers are not infallible. They may miss instances where text has been significantly altered, or the source material is not included in their database. Similarly, they might flag common phrases or idiomatic expressions as plagiarized content.

The Best Tips to Develop Unique Voice in Essay Writing

As you develop your unique voice, the likelihood of a teacher finding plagiarism in your essay is virtually zero. It’s not just about what you write but how you express it. As an experienced writer, I’ve honed the art of making essays with a distinctive voice, particularly in the IB field. Here are some of the best tips I’ve gathered to help you.

  • Read Variously and Voraciously. Expose yourself to different writing styles. Whether it’s classic literature, contemporary essays, or journalistic works, each genre can offer new vocabulary, structures, and rhythms. This exposure broadens your stylistic palette.
  • Understand Your Audience. Tailoring your voice to your audience is vital. How you’d write for an academic audience differs from a blog or a creative piece. Knowing who will read your essay helps you choose the right tone and style.
  • Reflect Your Personality. Let your writing mirror your personality. If you’re naturally humorous, don’t shy away from a light-hearted tone, if appropriate. A more formal and straightforward style might suit you better if you’re more serious.
  • Be Authentic. Authenticity resonates. Don’t try to imitate another writer’s style. Instead, focus on what feels natural to you. Your authenticity is your unique signature.
  • Practice Freewriting. Freewriting, where you write without stopping to edit, can help you discover your natural writing voice. It’s a great way to let your thoughts flow without inhibition.
  • Experiment with Different Styles. Feel free to try different writing styles or tones. Experimentation can lead to discovering what truly feels suitable for your voice.
  • Edit and Refine. Your first draft is just the beginning. You can hone your voice through editing, making it more precise and compelling. Pay attention to word choice, sentence structure, and overall flow.

Like any skill, developing a unique writing voice takes practice. Write regularly, whether it’s journal entries, essays, or blogs. Over time, your distinct voice will emerge more naturally.

How to Copy an Essay without Plagiarizing?

Copying an essay without plagiarizing may sound impossible, but it’s about drawing inspiration from existing work while ensuring your creation is distinct and original. As an experienced writer, I’ve learned some strategies to use original essays as a foundation for new work ethically.

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So, how to plagiarize without plagiarizing? These techniques allow you to use the research and ideas of others without compromising academic integrity:

  • Understand the Core Ideas. Begin by thoroughly understanding the main points and arguments of the original essay. It doesn’t mean memorizing it but grasping the concepts it presents.
  • Rewrite with a Different Perspective. Take the key ideas and rewrite them from a different perspective or angle. For example, if the original essay is from a historical viewpoint, consider writing from a sociological or psychological perspective.
  • Use Multiple Sources. Don’t rely on just one essay. Gather ideas from various sources and blend them. This approach helps create a piece rich in content and diverse in viewpoints.
  • Paraphrase Effectively. Learn to paraphrase correctly. It’s not just about changing a few words here and there but about completely rephrasing the ideas in your own words while retaining the original meaning.
  • Cite Appropriately. If you use specific quotes or unique ideas from the original essay, cite them correctly. Proper citation is critical to avoiding plagiarism.
  • Add Your Analysis and Insight. The most crucial part is contributing your thoughts and analysis. Discuss how the ideas relate to your experiences or current events or offer a new interpretation.

Incorporating these strategies, you can use an existing essay as a template or a source of inspiration without plagiarizing. Now you know how to get around plagiarism. The goal is to use the original work as a springboard for your unique ideas and expressions.


As you undertake your IB extended essay, remember these suggestions to ensure your writing is honest and imaginative. Additionally, if you ever need extra help, don’t forget that the team at Extended Essay Writers is always available to assist you. With their support, you can confidently create an ethically responsible piece that is uniquely yours.

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