CUSTOM ESSAY WRITING
Custom essay writing is the freelance ghostwriting of academic papers. This is proving to be a highly lucrative, but controversial growing business field.
There is nothing illegal about writing custom essays, but they can later be put to some very questionable uses.
The idea of a customised academic paper is simple. It gives tutors and students an idea of how certain questions in any subject of study from literature to marine biology ought to be answered. A custom essay can be added to a college or school database and used for students for research and exam revision purposes. That is how the papers are supposed to be used.
In reality, custom essays are frequently purchased directly by struggling or lazy students for submission as their own work. That is where the ethical doubt about the practice of writing academic papers in this way arises.
The problem lies with the purchaser, rather than the author, though impoverished and mercenary many writers probably don’t care how the work is used once payment has been received for it.
Many students are now being challenged for plagiarising their essays. The main reason for this is that students are simply cribbing notes and whole paragraphs by cutting and pasting text from the Internet. In some cases this is done so sloppily that references to other pages and hyperlinks are still embedded in the work that the students claim to have created themselves.
Internet plagiarism is so rife that colleges and universities are developing increasingly sophisticated web-bots that can find and match work to anything it has been plagiarised from. Colleges are also increasingly keen to deter students from using the Internet for research purposes and insisting that all of their work should come from the study of books and journals, rather than from online resources. This in itself is heavily affecting the Custom essay business, which mostly operates through Internet websites. Students buy their essays online, and the writer sends it out anonymously through the Custom essay clearing houses. Student and writer do not get much direct communication with one another.
Custom essay writers have some advantages over the students, but also some disadvantages. The advantage is that the custom writer probably has more time, especially if they have only one essay to write. A student might have several. The disadvantage is that the ghostwriter is often not himself, or herself, in a college facility. The ghostwriter must find books and journals needed for completion of an essay in public libraries or possibly by buying the work. (If the costs outweigh the profits to be gained by an assignment, the writer may simply not take on the project). A more obvious way to do the research quickly is by accessing any resources that are online. Many literary works that are out of copyright are now available in full on the Internet. The works of Shakespeare, Pepys, Plato, etc, are available at the click of a button. It makes sense for ghostwriters, and students working from home or even from college computers, to read the work online. It is vital of course to check the texts of different online editions of a book, as the Internet is certainly full of errors and corruptions.
To some colleges, the use of the Internet at all is anathema. Students have been accused of plagiarism for using online sources even when they have fully acknowledged those sources in footnotes and bibliographies. The same problem can affect work sent by custom essayists. In some essays, which have been searched by plagiarism-hunter robots, text that has been quoted chatter, page and verse, and fully acknowledged, has still been highlighted as plagiarism when it is nothing of the sort.
People need to be fully aware of what plagiarism is. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s creative or academic work as if it you had created that work yourself. Quotations acknowledged to Shakespeare are not plagiarism, as the student makes it clear that the line ‘To be or not to be’ comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Whether the line was read in a hard copy book copy of Hamlet or from a website copy of the text of the play is irrelevant, as long as the sources are appropriately acknowledged. Web-research and custom essay writing are perfectly legitimate practices.
What is not acceptable is for students to buy a custom essay and simply peddle it as their own work. Many do, and it is astonishing that many actually get away with it. Any college professor or lecturer who fails to see a custom essay as a purchased work is not doing his job properly any more than the student was. Lecturers should be able to tell quickly at the start of a new school term which students are writers, and which are rather lazy about doing homework and essay assignments by the appropriate deadlines. A student who is lacking in effort, and hands in mediocre work one day, is hardly going to submit a highly polished first class honours worthy paper the next. Writers have their own styles and approaches. When I read work by various writers in online forums I often identify the author just from the style of the writing submitted. You get used to it. So do tutors.
I write academic custom essays. I have qualms about this as I find the ethics of it somewhat questionable. Unlike my creative writings, where I can proudly sign my name to the work, my custom essays are supposed to be submitted anonymously. Why is that? Surely if the work is to be used as a template for revision and an example for students to see how work can be done, why not give the work full accreditation to its originator, i.e., me. It might also help students find similar essays by authors of such papers that they like. This could generate more work for the better ghostwriters. With anonymity involved, students paying for essays are just as likely to get a badly presented essay as much as a very good one.
The reason for such anonymity is precisely the fact that students, and in some cases, lecturers, want to pass the work off as their own, or as having been produced within the academic institution.
It saddens me that some of my writing is gaining someone academic merits that he or she does not deserve. That said, I am pleased that someone too lazy to have his own education is willing to pay for me to have it instead. I have a degree in literature and Philosophy. I worked my way through college for it. I earned it. I was able to study because I got a grant. If I now wished to go on to a doctorate or a master’s degree I could not afford the grant-less course fees. If someone else wishes to skip his own course work and let me study and get paid for it, more fool him. He will find his work cut out when it comes to sitting his final exams, as no one will be able to write a paper that he can then falsely claim as his own.
Custom Essay clearing houses can do more to ensure that students do not buy the essays for direct usage. They could mark the papers with a logo that cannot be separated from the text that over-writes it. They could also add the name and contact details of the true authors of the papers. Of course, they will not do this, as they know in many cases that it is the students who are the main bulk of the paying market for the essays.
I have enjoyed my foray into the World of Custom essay authorship. It claims that writers can earn £1,000 a week, but in reality there are more essayists than essays, and work gets snapped up quickly. Writers will also find that they are limited to writing work in their own specialised knowledge areas. I can write a philosophy paper, but I would flounder on a marine biology one. Some clearinghouses sadly don’t pick up on such distinctions, and expect all authors to be able to write on any topic under the Sun. Some insist that authors pick a minimum number of assignments a year, or per month and they cross off writers who fail to hit such targets. This gets writers purged during summer recess and at Xmas when students are not requesting essays.
Essays often need to be completed at very short and strict deadlines. Students often only request the essays when they have missed their own academic deadlines, so work has to be done quickly, and there is usually a pressure on the ghost writer to be on hand for any revision work needed on the essays. If you are taking on a custom essay assignment, be sure that you are free for the period leading to its deadline and for a few days after that.
The most common pay arrangement for an essay is a fee per page or for a set number of words. You may see an essay on Napoleonic history which needs to be completed in three days, be nine pages long, and which uses nine quotations from three given text books. You will then be rewarded with £30.00 (£10.00 per page). You may see a similar essay promoted with a request for 750 words (approximately 250 words per page). The word count may or may not include bibliography and footnote material, but the clearing house should inform you of whether that is the case or not.
The biggest problem with a pay system that goes by the word or page count is that different pages take a different amount of study and research, and writing /re-writing. A study of Hamlet will inevitably mean the reading of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, and it might be that the play alone will suffice as study material. Alternatively, you may be expected to contrast the play with something by Christopher Marlowe, and the thoughts of three different Shakespeare commentators in different books. How easily you can access those additional sources, and how much time you would need to read them, should be taken into account as much as the page count itself. The text per page will be much more intensely written if you need so much additional information within it. Your choice of which academic assignments to pick should take such factors into account. This is something that the clearinghouses will not tell you.
Payment for ghost writing custom essays is often good, but they can be slow to pay up. You should expect to wait two months or more for income to go directly to your account or through Paypal or some such service. It is a great way to get to write and be paid for it, but keep in mind that someone may be ruining his or her academic future by exploiting your work.
My essay topics to date have included, Censorship in the Irish Cinema, The feminist principles in the works of Angela Carter, The symbolism of Luis Bunuel’s film Un Chien Andalou, Kobo Abe’s The Woman In The Dunes, and Fred Chappell’s poem Echo.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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