Help with Essay, Dissertation Writing and Academic Integrity

Essays, Dissertation and other assignments submitted to University for grading, should be a student’s own work. Academic integrity of Universities is important, not only for the reputation of Universities but it should also be important to students. Paying someone to write an essay, and then submitting it to a University, in other words passing it off as your own work, otherwise referred to as contract cheating should be prohibited.

Essay Writing

In a previous blog, Study Coach did discuss Chris Skidmore’s Essay Writing Mills Prohibition Bill, and now recently the topic of students engaging in Contract cheating is back in the news. Study Coach believe that education should empower learners and students should understand that producing their own essays and dissertation is an important part of education and learning. Contracting an essay mill to write assignments and passing off the essay or dissertation as being work of your own is distasteful. Essay mills services are easily accessible, they are heavily promoted on social media and many students finding academic work challenging might believe that the best solution is to contract with an essay mill. In our previous blog on the topic, Study Coach made it clear that such practice is not beneficial to students, since learning is not taking place, the practice is blatant cheating, it is plagiarism. 

Online Private Tutor – Study Coach 

We do hope that students are becoming aware that the topic of contract cheating is being discussed in government and that furthermore students need to realise the consequences of paying someone to write an essay for them. Here at Study Coach we support students with assignments, meaning that students will draft their own essays or dissertation and we act as online tutor, providing feedback and giving guidance to students. Initial assignment drafts might be poor, this is expected, students are on a learning journey, re-drafting, generating new ideas is a worthwhile exercise, since it helps to build students’ confidence, we work with students to raise the standard of the work, this is done in an ethical manner, following University guidelines. 

Ethics and Essay Writing 

At present under UK law, operating an essay mill is legal (though unethical), essay writing mill services will churn out essays for students, purchasing an essay mill essay can result in grave consequences for  students, for example, being kicked off courses or having to resubmit work due to plagiarism. Study Coach is supportive of students, we understand that holding down a paid job, studies, caring for a family, attending placement as part of a course can create work overload, and as a consequence some students might be tempted to cheat and employ an essay mill. We know that life can be stressful, but we also know that cheating is not the answer. Having a degree based on other people’s work is a worthless piece of paper, Study Coach is therefore in support of the prohibition of essay writing mills and we support Lord Storey’s Higher Education Cheating Services Prohibition Bill, recently presented to the House of Lords. 

Personal Tutors 

Study Coach would also like to appeal to Universities and Colleges to provide more support for learners, particularly for mature students, whose first language is not English. Students have reported that lecturers can be very difficult to contact, getting adequate support from personal tutors can therefore become a nightmare, and furthermore students with English as a second language require more tutorial time. 

Education – Schools, Colleges, University 

Essay mills can infect the discipline of learning and damage academic integrity, the mills are said to have infiltrated all sectors of education, schools, colleges, universities. In order to help reduce the problem more personal tutors to support students are required. The view is that the majority of students would like to see the end of contract cheating, but students are also calling for more support, particularly given that face-to-face support is difficult to access at the best of times and now with social distancing one-to-one tuition is challenging. 

Study Coach UK

Here at Study Coach we support University and College students, we are qualified to teach, give feedback on academic assignments, provide pastoral support, we would love to work closer with Universities. We would be happy to work in partnership with Universities in order to support students with assignments. Study Coach promotes quality, we are IQA qualified. We provide students with assignment tips and guidance, for example reflective essay writing.   

Help with Writing a Reflective Essay  

Different types of essays will require students to follow certain principles, for example, if you are writing a reflective essay you are allowed to write in the first person, however some education establishments might stipulate that first person writing should not take place in the body of the reflective work. Students will therefore need to closely follow the guidance given by their university, failure to do so is likely to lead to failure of the assignment. When reflecting, students will still need to apply theoretical ideas to support the reflection and to apply a suitable reflective framework. Finding evidence to support an essay or when doing a dissertation is important, referencing the source is vital in order not to fall foul of plagiarism rules. 

How to Write Essay and finding Evidence

Preparation is key when writing an essay, students need to identify and understand relevant literature on the essay topic, in order to discuss issues. For example, if you’re writing about eating disorders and the nurses role, you will need to locate research evidence on the actual disease and also find research on the nurses role. Focus on the assessment criteria and if required to discuss patients’ experiences of the illness, then locate evidence to shed light on patients experiences, this is likely to be qualitative evidence. Appraise care plans in order to help patients and consider working with a multi-disciplinary team, for example working with a dietician and counsellor. Students would therefore need to focus on patients needs, and this might further entail students making reference to concepts such as client-centred care. Writing the essay in order to achieve high grades will require directly addressing the assignment criteria, using critical thinking skills, raising arguments and generating ideas. The development of essay writing skills are all part of the learning journey, the more we practise the better we become. Following on from Chris Skidmore’s Essay Writing Mills Prohibition Bill, we now have Lord Storey’s Higher Education Cheating Services Prohibition Bill, presented in the House of Lords.  

Higher Education – Lord Storey’s Bill 

In presenting the Bill, Lord Michael Storey gave a background to some of the steps previously taken to tackle the problem of contract cheating and essay mills. He stated that the cheating industry is now operating at an industrial scale, and that during the passage of the Higher Education and Research Act the problem began to appear. He furthermore stated that efforts have been made to deal with the issue by voluntary means, through working with the NUS and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Steps were undertaken to encourage students not to use essay mills. The QAA had established an academic integrity working group and that a student’s charter was written, and the Advertising Standards Authority was proactive in removing adverts by essay mills companies, particularly on the London Underground.

Lord Storey stated that the Government had given an assurance to the House that they would look at introducing legislation if voluntary means were not successful in curbing the problem. Sadly, voluntary steps have not curbed the problem, with essay mills continuing to grow and flourish, operating in industrial proportions.

Practitioners’ Competence 

Essay mills is a global problem and a number of countries are taking action through legislation to tackle the problem, for example: New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and a number of states in the USA, and a number of European countries are preparing legislation as well. Other unethical practices linked to essay mills were also highlighted by Lord Storey in his speech. The issue of contract cheating, limits educational progression, it can create great risks for the public, with practitioners practicing with below standard knowledge; this could result in risk to life, the public assuming that because a practitioner holds a certification, they are competent.  

Recommendation 

During the House of Lords debate on students engaging in contract cheating, it was suggested that despite NUS guidance, the creation of an Academic Integrity Advisory Group, and the introduction of new generation plagiarism detection software in universities, the use of essay mills did not appear to be declining. It was argued that legislation was therefore needed to criminalise the practice in the UK. We wait to find out whether the government will decide to criminalise the act of contract cheating. 

Study Coach Online Academic Support Service

Study Coach is here to help students with their education, to improve assignment grades, to be the best they can be. We act as a critical friend and will guide students to understand the assessment criteria and for students to develop their academic skills. We provide both an Essay and Dissertation Online service. Study Coach provides online tutoring at its best, and students can access the service at any time and submit their work overnight. To find out more about Study Coach’s academic support and other services, call Morel Benard for a chat on 07944 849271 or email info@studycoach.uk.com



Thank you for all your help, you have built my confidence.
Ciara

© Studycoach     07944 849271     info@studycoachuk.com     Privacy Policy