You have an avalanche of assessments, a flurry of essay deadlines and your exams are just around the corner.
So, when you see an advert for a company offering to write your essays for you, it sounds like an easy way out.
Google banned these adverts several years ago amid claims they were threatening the integrity of university degrees. Facebook, however, doesn’t seem to have followed suit, and adverts on the social-media site regularly tempt students with the lure of paid-for assignments.
What happens when you sign up for their services? We decided to try 9papers.com, one of the services that advertises regularly on Facebook.
It works on a bidding system, whereby writers bid on projects, with some of the more experienced writers asking for more on account of their experience.
It sounds simple: upload your essay title, choose the writer, and your payment is held by the site until the essay is written by the winning bidder. When completed, it is reviewed by both parties and the writer is paid.
We posted an advert for a 2,500-word sociology essay to be completed within a week. The title? “Critically discuss the contribution that the internet can make to the ‘public sphere’. Does the internet promote or threaten open, rational and democratic discussion in civil society?”
Within minutes we had numerous offers ranging from $20 to $80, with a few offering an impressive 24-hour turnaround.
We selected “KennyKitchens”. To date, he claims to have completed 355 works, with 243 positive reviews and one negative one. He says his subject matters range from political science, business and marketing to English and literature.
So, we forked out $70 for his services (although it came to only $60 because of the $10 discount 9papers.com offered for first-time users).
KennyKitchens soon set to work and, hey presto, three days later a completed essay was available for review.
But, more importantly, was it any good? The effort was – to put it diplomatically – mixed.
Structurally, it seemed okay: it had an introduction, a middle and an end. But it read like a machine. The piece lacked any real coherence. It was riddled with grammatical errors. All in all, it read like a weirdly vacuous piece of work. Still, maybe it was passable?
Would this essay be red-flagged for plagiarism? Colleges nowadays have access to a range of computer programmes, such as Turnitin and Safeassign, that test whether articles have been copied from other academic texts.
However, these programmes only work if they detect parts of the essay that exist elsewhere; they might not flag plagiarised content if they are custom-written pieces.
To test the essay, we put it through Safeassign and it came back clean.
But it’s not just the plagiarism-detection programmes: it has to get past the beady eye of a lecturer. We presented the essay to a number of lecturers in communications and media without telling them about its origins.
Dr Eddie Brennan, media sociologist at DIT, described the end product as “profoundly wrong”.
“The way it’s written it seems like someone got an algorithm, scanned related texts and wrote around it,” said Dr Brennan, adding that the paper’s structure was correct but the writing and content was “bonkers”.
Dr Ken Murphy, a lecturer in DIT’s school of media, said the essay “goes against everything I’ve taught” and is “factually inaccurate”.
Both lecturers said the essay would fail if it was handed in.
It’s difficult to say how commonly these services are being used, but colleges are increasingly aware of plagiarism on campus.
There have been about 1,000 cases of students in Ireland being disciplined for plagiarism since 2010, and the numbers are on the rise (see panel).
In the UK, some academics have warned that essay-writing services are behind an “epidemic” of plagiarism.
Dr Mark Glynn of DCU’s teaching enhancement unit said most detected plagiarism tends to involve students simply cutting and pasting in a section and putting inverted commas around it.
“Students don’t realise that this is plagiarism, but these [essay-writing] services are blatant plagiarism,” he says.
Trinity College Dublin’s education officer, Molly Kenny, said these services were difficult to detect, adding that it was ridiculous that Facebook would advertise such services to students. Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.
DIT’s vice-president for education, Gareth Walker-Ayers, says any student using such a service was doing themselves a disservice.
“It’s dangerous for students to use something like this, because if it’s stolen or reproduced elsewhere and you’re caught out in the assignment, there is no defence. Students would be just leaving themselves vulnerable,” he says.
Essay-writing services, however, insist they have a legitimate role in supporting students.
An Irish service
An Irish example of these services is a website called Write My Assignments. It describes itself as “an online education development company offering support to private individuals and businesses by qualified writers and researchers.”
Louise Foley, who runs the site, says it offers “a broad range of services to private individuals including educational support, from one-to-one grinds to notes and sample papers.
“Our work always belongs to us and all clients are expected to use and reference it as they would any other online source,” she says. In the terms and conditions of the website they state they do not condone plagiarism.
Foley says the site and demands for their services continue to grow. They give out about 400 quotes a year and complete roughly 350 projects.
Foley would not say which universities and institutes give them the most work.
She confirmed that the majority of work was at BA and MA level and the disciplines that were most requested included nursing, business and early-learning years.
In some countries there has been an effort to reduce the impact of these services. It is now illegal in New Zealand for someone to offer a service that would include completing assignments, providing answers to exams or sitting an exam for other students.
The penalty for breaking this law is a fine of up to $10,000 New Zealand dollars (about €6,000).
Glynn says this could be an option in Ireland: “I would endorse it if it came in here – enforcing it is the challenge – anything to discourage student plagiarism.”
Students should be aware that using these services can be risky, potentially expensive and, in the end, the product might not be worth the paper it’s written on.
PLAGIARISM: A GROWING PROBLEM
Since the 2010-2011 academic year, there have been almost 1,000 cases of students disciplined for plagiarism across the Irish higher-education sector.
If anything, the number of cases is on the rise, with 236 cases recorded in the last academic year alone.
The real number is likely to be significantly higher, given that UCD, UCC, University of Maynooth and the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown had not provided figures at the time of going to print.
Of the colleges that supplied figures, the Institute of Technology Tallaght topped the list of detected cases of plagiarism (206), followed by the University of Limerick (162) and DIT (143).
All colleges reported that students were disciplined under their codes of conduct.
Institute of Technology Tallaght has one of the most extensive approaches to dealing with plagiarism, involving a sliding case of penalties, ranging from written warnings to potential disqualification from the institution.
Some say the most difficult part of writing a text – is to start. But topic selection even precedes this starting point. This activity takes off a lot of time, and sometimes imagination just doesn’t work in your favor. That’s where our list of best research paper topics will come in handy. We collected the most unhacked and powerful ideas to turn the average piece of writing into a compelling research paper. Discover how to choose suitable and interesting research topics with our help.
Start With Observing Your Interests
If you are confused with a variety of interesting topics to research on the Internet, it’s better to decide what interests you the most. Don’t stick to easy research paper topics just to complete the task fast. If you are allowed to freely choose what to write on your own, use the opportunity to create something unique. Write down the list of your interests and break down every idea into small certain topics. When you have a list in front of your eyes, it will be easier to make up your mind and start considering a particular issue.
Then you should examine what aspect of the topic is preferable for you to outline in your research paper. A list will save you here again. Use pros/cons template to include all the arguments and objections to the issues.
Check the Info
If a topic is a backbone of your paper, then information is its essential body element. Before settling on the research topic ideas, you have to make sure there is enough information for you to model the main body of your paper. It is recommended to use textbooks (both online and offline), articles and other sources that deal with scientific explanations and review your topic from the most debatable side. Especially if you decided to stop on controversial topics for research papers, you should prepare in advance and look up for the strong arguments to support your thesis.
Our experts carefully developed unique research paper ideas to equip you with good research topics and ease your writing procedure entirely!
Research Paper Topics on Medicine
- Is life-sustaining therapy needed when it’s futile?
- The role of placebo treatment
- How to avoid animal testing?
- Pros and contras of medical marijuana
- Is cow milk healthy?
- Is being a vegetarian useful for child’s health?
- How obesity affects our health?
- Vaccines for kids: their usefulness or damage
- Should prescription drugs be advertised directly to consumers?
- Do doctors turn their patients into drug addicts?
Research Paper Topics on Education
- How can standardized tests improve education?
- Does college graduates make more money?
- Should education be cheaper?
- How will modern technologies change the way of teaching in the future?
- The creation of particular learning methods for blind children
- Social networking and school
- Metal detectors at schools
- The effects of contemporary teaching methods
- The role of technology in lesson planning
- How to manage bullies and take actions against bullying at education institutions?
Research Paper Topics on Environment
- How to reduce global warming?
- How to stop wasting paper and save trees?
- Can overpopulation be managed?
- Should more films about environmental issues be produced?
- Human impacts on forests
- Underground effects of earthquakes
- How to elaborate optimal adaptation of buildings threatened by hurricanes?
- Is it possible to predict hurricane impacts?
- Is nuclear power safe for humans?
- How dangerous is GMO food?
Research Paper Topics on Entertainment and Sport
- Are social networks good for our society?
- Do violent video games make kids angry and cruel?
- Is it necessary to forbid using animals for entertainment?
- Do beauty contests set the non-achievable beauty standards?
- Are newspapers going to be replaced by online sources of information?
- How gaming consoles influence the youth?
- Should women be allowed to compete against men?
- What television programs should be banned?
- How tv shows impose fake moral standards?
- Can the use of social media, such as Facebook, lower teens’ self-esteem?
Research Paper Topics on Politics
- Should the drinking age be lowered?
- Should adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?
- More gun control laws should be enacted
- How can the international community prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons?
- How can ethnic killings be stopped?
- Current prospect for peace between Israel and the Palestinians
- What world would be like without wars?
- How to avoid workforce reduction?
- Should the death penalty be allowed?
- Is socialism possible?
Research Paper Topics on Psychology
- Is autism a disease or a development idiosyncrasy?
- How to forecast and shape behavioral patterns?
- How to manage child violence?
- How to deal with a mental breakdown?
- The impact of classical music on the work of brain
- How insomnia affects our health?
- How bad dreams influence our mood?
- Is stress really harmful?
- How depression impacts the immune system?
- Intellectually gifted people: how is it possible?
Research Paper Topics on Science and Technologies
- How is light being used to treat cancer and other diseases?
- What is the current evidence that Mars has had water and maybe life?
- Can nanomedicine potentially extend the human lifespan?
- What is the future of computing and artificial intelligence?
- The role cryogenics may play in future.
- Can alternative energy effectively replace fossil fuels?
- Is it beneficial for wild animals to have interactions with people?
- What evidence do we have that CMB is the result of the big bang?
- How will self-driving cars change the way people live?
- Can using system like bitcoin help protect identity theft?
Research Paper Topics on Culture
- A new comprehension of past events
- The origin of racial discrimination
- The roots of antisemitism
- The impact of advertisements and commercials on modern art
- The most remarkable cultural achievements of the 20th century and their influence on our society
- Cultural revolutions throughout history
- How pop culture trends influence youth?
- Should pregnant celebrities be exposed on magazine’s covers?
- Why was Greek cultural influence so important for the ancient Mediterranean world?
- Why was the Victorian period a time of cultural change?
Research Paper Topics on Math
- The influence of algorithms
- Is it possible to build a winning monopoly strategy?
- Why is 'x' the unknown?
- How math changed the world?
- What's solution to the McDonald's math problem?
- How do math geniuses understand extremely hard math concepts so quickly?
- Should high school math contests be banned?
- What is the relationship between music and math?
- Are math formulas ever used in real life?
- What are some of the most confusing math problems ever?
Research Paper Topics on Business
- How do dirty business tactics work?
- Can business be started without money?
- Notorious business leaders
- Entrepreneurship and family business
- Ethical decision making in everyday work situations
- What are the most effective strategies for promoting a small business?
- Is it worth it to expand the business into a new region or country?
- How to build a successful startup
- The role of international business and sustainable development
- The impact of climate change on international business strategies