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Plagiarism: The Ethics of Hiring Professional Writers to Do Student Research and Writing Assignments

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As wild as it sounds, this type of thing happens with college students all the time, and not only on undergraduate level. Many graduates have been known to seek professional writers to do their research and assignments, especially for key work like theses and dissertations.

The reason students do this range from poor writing and research skills to laziness to being students who are non-fluent in the language in which the work is to be completed. All of this is akin to buying papers on or off campus and handing them in as one’s own. Although the work is purchased and not stolen, the practice still falls under plagiarism because deception is at the heart of the process: Students submit to their instructors the work conducted and produced by professional writers as if it were their own. This is clearly a falsehood, since it involves someone else’s work.

Why is this practice unjustified? Writing programs and labs exist within the structure of every single university for those who need help, such as poor students and students whose language is not that designated for the work in question. These writing assistance facilitators are organized by and offer specialists in both writing and multicultural education so that those who require their services can utilize them at an affordable fee and on a regular basis. Another option would be local tutors who guide students through their development in coordination with their classes. These means of assistance allow students to both learn and produce their own work without involving a professional’s writing or research skills.

What is even scarier is that an abundance of writing agencies and professional ghost writers are available for hire and willing to do this work—for a hefty price!

Much of this is seen online, if one looks close enough. As a matter of fact, this particular practice is one of the biggest and most thriving in the freelance writing circles. Some agencies even specialize in it and require their writers to be willing to do it.

What is the world coming to? What has happened to professional and educational integrity?

Just for clarity’s sake, though, not all writing assistance for students is necessarily deceptive and/or unethical. Some students who are struggling with a new language quite often need translators, which is an acceptable practice, as long the professional’s services are acknowledged and authorized. Still, on-campus writing groups provide this as well.

The problem comes into play when professional ghostwriters are hired to do everything—research, compilation of data, and the composition of final work. This leaves nothing for the student to do, and yet that student submits the work as her/his own.

Solutions to this epidemic (and yes, that is an appropriate word, since this is going on everywhere, especially online, and is surging like a contagion) lie in both academic policies and professional work ethics. Academia should consistently enforce more stringent reprimands; expellees should be legally charged and prosecuted as if they had stolen the work from another. This would significantly reduce the practice if not eliminate it completely.

In the end, if professionals aren’t willing to do this, students would be forced to do it themselves, which is the way it should be. Unfortunately, this is only a dream in a world where money rules.

So, would you hire someone to write your paper for you?

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