Can you say, “Plagiarize?”: Why custom writing and buying a term paper from a paper mill is a bad idea

Plagiarism is commonly found in academia. Always remember to cite your sources. (Credit: Carrot Lord)

Plagiarism is commonly found in academia. Always remember to cite your sources. (Credit: Carrot Lord)

By far one of the most stressful experiences for a student is writing a term paper, research project or essay. The idea is to write based on your own work and not to plagiarize (steal) the work of others. No problem, just get on the Internet and check out custom writing services. Also known as a paper mill, these sites say that they will create a paper on deadline that will meet the requirements of your assignment. Here are the reasons why that is a very bad idea.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you use the words or ideas of someone else in your writing project and you don’t give the author credit for it. Schools and instructors take plagiarism very seriously. You could fail the assignment or even fail the course if you are caught. One way that instructors search for plagiarism in student work is by using the plagiarism-detection service Turnitin.

If you want to know more about academic honesty and how to avoid plagiarism then check out the interactive tutorial from the folks at The University of Sydney titled, “Plagiarism and academic honesty.”

Are you guilty of plagiarism?

You probably know that there are tons of websites that offer custom-written assignments of all kinds. They promise that each one is created just for you and so it will pass the plagiarism-detectors. Unfortunately, many students don’t understand that when they hire someone to write a paper for them that this is plagiarism too.

In a September 2, 2013 article for THEJournal.com titled, “From Texting to Plagiarism, How to Stop High-Tech Cheating,” John K. Waters talked to Jason Chu, senior education manager at Turnitin about flaws in students’ attitudes about plagiarism.

When it comes to buying a term paper Chu said, “I’ve had instructors tell me that students who’ve been caught turning in papers they purchased online are actually confused about why they were in trouble. They’d say, ‘Sure, I bought this, but it’s mine. What’s the problem here?'”

The problem is that you did not do the work, and yet you are turning it in for a grade as if you did do the work. In short, you are lying. What’s worse, you didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about your subject and then show how much you learned by writing about it.

What’s the catch?

If you go to any of these sites that advertise their writing services they make it sound as if you’re going to get an original paper, fully referenced, written according to the requirements of your assignment and an “A” is all but guaranteed. But according to Maddy Potts, that’s not the reality.

In her February 6, 2012 post for The Guardian titled, “Who writes your essays?” Potts described the downside of custom writing services.

“Yet online forums are full of complaints about essays arriving peppered with spelling mistakes, arguments that don’t match pre-approved propositions and – the most common grievance – results that don’t match the promised grade,” Potts said.

In a search for complaint forums related to custom writing services I found complaints that include poor grammar, lack of proper citations, not meeting deadlines and the inability to get a full refund if you are dissatisfied. Some individuals who complained even described how their paper was completely taken from Wikipedia!

More reasons not to buy a paper online

If you’re not convinced by the argument that the whole thing is morally dishonest then let’s look at practical reasons why it’s a bad idea. The folks at HomeworkAnswers.com put together a list of reasons in their article titled, “Tempted to Buy Research Papers Online? 8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t.”

Their list of reasons includes:

  • the paper may not be original and it may be caught by a service like Turnitin
  • the quality of the paper may be poor
  • the cost can range upwards to $12 per page depending on your deadline
  • extra charges for editing and a bibliography can add to your cost
  • the tone of the paper won’t sound like you and your instructor will notice
  • the paper may not meet the requirements of the assignment

In conclusion the author said, “There really is nothing good that can come from buying research papers online. There are far too many risks and the consequences all come at a high price. […] It is not just an issue of dishonesty; it goes against all the principles of learning.”

What do you think about buying a paper from an online writing service? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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