Why essay writing services are unethical

A search through the Internet will find numerous individuals and organisations offering essay-writing services.  It is easy to understand why students may be attracted to such services.

Why might students want to use essay-writing services? 

1.    They may not be confident in writing in the English language (or in whichever other language the essay is to be written), and feel that this is the best way to write an essay in correct grammar. 

2.    They may know their subject well, but may feel that they lack the ability to put their knowledge and research findings into writing. 

3.    They may not have the time to write the essay themselves. 

Is the use of essay writers another form of plagiarism?

Plagiarism is presenting another person’s work with the impression that it is one’s own work. Although universities use plagiarism software to detect this, such software will not so easily detect that an essay writer has written the work. It can indeed be argued that essay writing is similar to plagiarism because, although it uses a specified topic, it may not represent the student’s own understanding or presentation of that topic. 

Is essay writing the same as ghost writing?

Many people employ ghost writers because they may not be confident in writing a book themselves, maybe because they lack the academic ability or are too busy. However, one of the most frequent uses of ghost writing is for autobiographies, which are not written with the intention of being submitted to attain an academic qualification as is the case with essay writing. 

Is essay writing the same as paraphrasing, editing or proofreading?

Paraphrasing, editing and proofreading are not the same as essay writing.  An essay submitted to an editor has, of course, already been written. The editor’s task is to correct grammar and generally to make the text clearer.  Although paraphrasing involves making more comprehensive changes, it is still an action performed on an essay that has already been written. It retains the meaning and expresses the student’s own work in the best possible way. However, essay writing services present the topic from the point of view of the professional essay writer. 

What are the possible consequences of using essay-writing services?

Universities and governments are becoming increasingly concerned about the use of essay- writing services. This is understandable because the purpose of writing an essay is for the student to demonstrate to the examiner that he/she understands the topic of study, and has used his/her own mind to research the subject, and by his/her own initiative forms an opinion or makes recommendations. Clearly, an essay written on the student’s behalf by a third party cannot do this. It is increasingly likely that universities will give a very low grade, or even expel a student if it is proved that the essay is not his/her own work. There have been calls by some universities that governments should ban essay-writing advertisements. Therefore, it can indeed be argued that essay writing is unethical.