Over the past decade, as the use of information technology in education has continued to grow, so has the implications of such technology in learning and assignments. Currently, essay writing services exist all over the internet, with a random google search turning up hundreds of companies providing online academic help, ranging from major companies to independent freelancers working on a part-time basis. However, as one goes through the various testimonials, it becomes apparent that these services are not without controversy. The mention of such companies tends to generate plagiarism concerns, as well as questions related to academic ethics. As many universities continue to grapple with the dilemma presented by online custom essay writing services, we conducted a study to examine the factors underlying the growing popularity of such services, and questions students continue to grapple with as they consider getting professional essay writing help.
To understand the factors underlying the growing popularity of online academic writing companies Okessay.co.uk conducted a qualitative survey on a sample of 200 students who had used essay writing services in the past. An open-ended questionnaire containing ten questions was administered to the participants, seeking to identify their views on various issues, including why they decided to order essays, their views of whether ordering custom essays was tantamount to cheating, whether their professors were aware of the online services, and whether they had friends who had also ordered essays online. Other items in the questionnaire also sought to determine whether the students were satisfied with the services they received, and whether they would recommend the services to their friends. The questionnaires were supported by interviews conducted with some students and teachers. The findings of the data collection were analyzed, and the key findings are discussed in the subsequent section.
Findings and Discussion
Many colleges and schools currently face a significant dilemma regarding the scholarly conduct of their students, particularly give the growing popularity of online academic paper writing services. In fact, some universities have gone ahead to put in place strict honor codes prohibiting students from purchasing research papers and essays, arguing that such practices are ethically wrong, whether or not the paper is plagiarized or paid for. Despite such measures, data from our study shows that professional essay writing services are growing in popularity, will 70 of the respondents indicating that they knew someone who had also had their assignment done through online services.
One of the reasons given by the respondents for engaging custom writing services was to circumvent plagiarism. In fact, 40% of the respondents indicated that they preferred such services as they offered plagiarism free and original papers. Such findings suggest that strict regulations covering originality and plagiarism may be pushing students to seek online writing help. Those who seek such services are attracted by the promises of 100% plagiarism free paper. Though universities already have strict anti-plagiarism software in place, purchasing professionally-written custom essays and submitting them as one’s own means that the student can escape the wrath of plagiarism punishments.
Another reason given by students, particularly international students, for seeking professional writing help is language barrier. According to 20 of the respondents, the main reason for choosing essay writing help was language problems as they were not native speakers of English, and had difficulties coping with their studies. Such students are attracted by the promise of their assignments being worked on by native speakers of English who have master’s degrees or PhDs. However, another participant indicated that the notion that students mainly use professional writing services due to struggles with writing effectively in English is a misconception. In other words, while foreign students tend to have problems writing effectively in the English language, most students need professional writing help at one point or another. In fact, no matter the student’s academic ability or commitment, it is unlikely that they will meet all the requirements of their coursework. And the task of writing is just one that can be easily delegated.
The main reason for engaging professional essay writing services according to the study was too much pressure from course requirements. 90% of the respondents involved in the study agreed that pressure of having too much coursework and not enough time was a crucial factor in their decision to seek essay writing assistance. The contemporary education system is heavily reliant on written assignments, particularly for students in the social sciences and liberal arts. In the competitive and high stakes world of elite learning institutions, students are often given too many assignments, which count for significant fractions of their course points. Failing such assignments can either mean having to retake the course, with significant financial implications, or even being discontinued from the classes due to plagiarism. Students with too many assignments and too little time in which to complete the assignments, have realized that getting professional essay help may be the easy way out. In fact, 54 of the students indicated that they had initially resorted to using the professional writing services out of desperation, and in the assurance that the services would guarantee them original and timely content.
One of the issues identified before the study was that many universities objected to custom writing services on the basis that they were a form of contract cheating. Here, contract cheating implies when a student gets the services of a third party to generate academic work, which is then presented by the student for academic purposes. The participants were asked whether they thought getting writing assistance was a form of cheating. However, some of the students interviewed indicated that strict policies on cheating and plagiarism were some of the reasons pushing them to get professional help in the first place. The issue can be looked at from the view that even in professional circles leaders and companies are allowed to procure the services of ghostwriters.
To summarize, various factors, including pressure to perform, linguistic problems, assignments that are too close to deadlines, and too much coursework interact to trigger the growing popularity of online essay writing services. The bottom-line here is that cheating in college happens, and as long as students feel pressured to produce high-quality papers in short timelines, while still forced to balance the demands of jobs, coursework, and sprouting social life, the likelihood that some will seek professional writing help is inevitable. To address the issue, then universities and colleges ought to rethink student workload, and consider how to inspire students to complete their assignments on their own, besides adopting measures to better assist students to become stronger writers.