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Ethics of Paid Essays

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    As a freelance writer I come across essay sites where students can buy essays for any subject quite often, in fact TSR even advertises one.

    But what do you guys think about the ethics of these websites? Do you think it's wrong to pay for essays as the majority of students are just going to be trying to pass the work off as their own work? Have you ever used any of these websites?

    Personally, I think that sites such as these are ethically wrong because whilst the thinking might be that students will use the essays as a guide, realistically this is rarely going to be the case. I've spoken about this with some other freelancers and they seem to feel the same way as they regularly turn down jobs of this nature, but what do you normal university students think about this?

    I wouldn't be surprised if this thread is deleted since TSR clearly has an interest in this practise, though.
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    A lot of sites that aim for the essays to be used as a guide will submit them to places like turnitin, at my uni any work that I submit goes through this first. In my first year one guy got 94% on the plagiarism checker and was not seen again during the second term...
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    I do not agree with them because, like you said, people do not just use them as a guide. I understand what it is like when you have no idea how to even begin your essay and in desperate need of inspiration, then those sites are perfect.

    I suppose its how you use the site and those who use it because they are lazy really let it down.
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    (Original post by Genocidal)
    As a freelance writer I come across essay sites where students can buy essays for any subject quite often, in fact TSR even advertises one.
    TSR do not advertise one. They advertise Coursework info, a sister site and owned the the same company who own TSR. It is a database of essays and coursework, all of them submitted to plaigarism software. The site does not write students' essays but provides essays already written as study guides. If a student were to submit one of these essays as their own it is likely they will be caught.

    It might stll be a grey area and something you don't agree with but it is not a custom essay writing site (which are deplorable) The key difference is the these essays on coursework info are pre-written, not always the same essay question, and have been submitted to plagiarism software. This is not the case for custom writing sites, which ate are certainly designed to help students circumvent plagiarism and cheat.


    But what do you guys think about the ethics of these websites? Do you think it's wrong to pay for essays as the majority of students are just going to be trying to pass the work off as their own work? Have you ever used any of these websites?

    Personally, I think that sites such as these are ethically wrong because whilst the thinking might be that students will use the essays as a guide, realistically this is rarely going to be the case. I've spoken about this with some other freelancers and they seem to feel the same way as they regularly turn down jobs of this nature, but what do you normal university students think about this?

    I wouldn't be surprised if this thread is deleted since TSR clearly has an interest in this practise, though. [/QUOTE]
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    (Original post by River85)
    TSR do not advertise one. They advertise Coursework info, a sister site and owned the the same company who own TSR. It is a database of essays and coursework, all of them submitted to plaigarism software. The site does not write students' essays but provides essays already written as study guides. If a student were to submit one of these essays as their own it is likely they will be caught.

    It might stll be a grey area and something you don't agree with but it is not a custom essay writing site (which are deplorable) The key difference is the these essays on coursework info are pre-written, not always the same essay question, and have been submitted to plagiarism software. This is not the case for custom writing sites, which ate are certainly designed to help students circumvent plagiarism and cheat.
    But it's essentially the same process. Both can be used to cheat and plagiarise. Yes, I agree that pre-written essays are more deplorable than sites which take jobs directly, but both can be used for the same process.

    What we also have to remember is that, although this has been posted in University discussion, these sites may also sell A-Level and GCSE essays which vary very little in their subject matter and wording. You can easily find a set essay question on these sites, maybe not exactly the same but extremely similar. This means that all a student has to do is change the wording slightly to match the new question.
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    I find these websites deplorable, I don't have as big a problem with sites where work is uploaded to be used as a guide and submitted to plagiarism software but where the essays are clearly used to cheat and beat plagiarism software.

    Students who use them can also get ripped off, and the issue is discussed in this guardian blog http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...g-for-students

    Does anyone have sympathy for students that get ripped off? I personally have some (but little) sympathy. I can identify with the panic felt when you don't know where to start and you have a fast approaching deadline but find the idea of cheating in this manner (or any other method) abhorrent.
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    (Original post by manupalace)
    I find these websites deplorable, I don't have as big a problem with sites where work is uploaded to be used as a guide and submitted to plagiarism software but where the essays are clearly used to cheat and beat plagiarism software.

    Students who use them can also get ripped off, and the issue is discussed in this guardian blog http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...g-for-students

    Does anyone have sympathy for students that get ripped off? I personally have some (but little) sympathy. I can identify with the panic felt when you don't know where to start and you have a fast approaching deadline but find the idea of cheating in this manner (or any other method) abhorrent.
    Ethically and morally it may be wrong and I suspect anyone cheating like this would get caught out sooner or later but ultimately it isn't illegal. Therefore I think if a student has paid for an essay writing service they should get what they have paid for.

    I don't have any ethical objects to sites like coursework info because work is submitted to databases that are used to check for plagiarism and these sites are simply providing another learning resource, not an individualised writing service.

    I think the amount of effort anyone would have to go to in order to get away with cheating like this at university really defeats the whole point in cheating anyway.

    The thing that upsets me more than the thought of someone buying an essay is the apparent collusion that goes on between a lot of people....
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    (Original post by Student00009)
    In my first year one guy got 94% on the plagiarism checker and was not seen again during the second term...
    Firing Squad? :eek:
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    (Original post by Genocidal)
    But it's essentially the same process. Both can be used to cheat and plagiarise. Yes, I agree that pre-written essays are more deplorable than sites which take jobs directly, but both can be used for the same process.

    What we also have to remember is that, although this has been posted in University discussion, these sites may also sell A-Level and GCSE essays which vary very little in their subject matter and wording. You can easily find a set essay question on these sites, maybe not exactly the same but extremely similar. This means that all a student has to do is change the wording slightly to match the new question.
    I am not defending Coursework.info. I don't particularly like it myself but it is welcomed by the education community (including some schools) as the references are there to see on the site and, yes, they are genuine as far as I'm aware. It is the only site of its kind to submit work to Turnitin.

    I was making the clear distinction between this and custom essay writing sites as it's important to make.

    If the work is submitted to a plaigarism checker then, no, just changing the wording a bit probably won't be sufficient as it will still get flagged up.
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    (Original post by River85)
    I am not defending Coursework.info. I don't particularly like it myself but it is welcomed by the education community (including some schools) as the references are there to see on the site and, yes, they are genuine as far as I'm aware. It is the only site of its kind to submit work to Turnitin.

    I was making the clear distinction between this and custom essay writing sites as it's important to make.

    If the work is submitted to a plaigarism checker then, no, just changing the wording a bit probably won't be sufficient as it will still get flagged up.
    Actually, as a freelance writer I'm regularly employed to rewrite certain articles and blog posts so they don't appear on plagiarism software. It's not as difficult as you think because all you have to do is read the piece, take the main points, and then write it in your own words.

    As long as you can write fairly competently then you can still preserve most of what was originally there whilst avoiding the plagiarism software.

    And for this reason I'm against both types of these websites. I mean don't get me wrong, the original purpose of a website with pre-written essays is all well and good, but it's too easy to use it for cheating.
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    I question whether these people are really graduates at all and not just some backstreet conmen.
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    (Original post by Gridiron-Gangster)
    I question whether these people are really graduates at all and not just some backstreet conmen.
    Same

    If you think about it, they are pretty much offering to help you con your university; therefore, they are not honest people. And seeing as they are getting money off you, it's probably you being conned.
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    A friend of a friend got caught out on a second year history essay, not by plagiarism software but by the tutor because the style of writing was completely different to his own work. If you can't be bothered to write your own essays, you shouldn't be at university.
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    Had a look at one of the dodgy ones and the sanction against people bouncing payment was that they'd submit a copy of the supplied essay to turnitin... Obv that's different to sites where the stuffs been pre-submitted to turnitin and shows that the dodgy site knows people are going to hand the supplied essays in as their own work.
    Decent quality essays are actually fairly easy to get hold of for free if you want some ideas about structuring your own work...People sometimes put their dissertations up on their own web sites and there'll be a stack in the uni library.
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    (Original post by Tpx)
    Same

    If you think about it, they are pretty much offering to help you con your university; therefore, they are not honest people. And seeing as they are getting money off you, it's probably you being conned.
    Well it's not that which worries me. I can't seem to comprehend how they can back up audacious claims like being able to produce a 2000 word essay of a 1:1 standard in less than 6 to 12 hours.

    My opinion: if you're going to use this service and submit the essay as your own then you're a fool and deserve to be thrown in the stocks never mind caught out. What I don't mind is people using essays from online as a guideline or for inspiration to do your own essay. I've done this in the past if purely to have a look at essays to get an idea of the standard that's expected. No way and I mean absolutely no way would I pass it off as my own work. You're just asking for trouble doing that.
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    I think that they're definately wrong. Very few people who use such services only do it as an extra study guide! If you were caught cheating in a test, you'd fail, so why should assignments etc. be any different? If you can't produce the work, then at some point its going to catch up with you.

    At my school, you couldn't get away with this anyway as everything is passed through a system that compates it to anything on the internet, and all the other assignments from that class, to check for identical parts, and then comes up with the percentage that's been copied. Anything over 25% is an automatic fail, and work gets checked again more thoroughly if its over 10%...
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    (Original post by Genocidal)
    the majority of students are just going to be trying to pass the work off as their own work?
    itd be rather unfortunate if they did try and do that ... all these websites submit the essays to anti plagerism software thus making doing that an expensive mistake to say the least

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