Today’s colleges and universities have a special word for essays that students purchase online and then submit as their own work. They call it “contract cheating”, in reference to the business deal students make with essay writing companies to produce a custom-written paper for money. Contract cheating is considered a form of academic dishonesty and can result in academic penalties ranging from failing a paper to expulsion. But contract cheating is only one of the many ways that students can use professionally written essays to develop their own writing skills, and many of the other ways are perfectly legal and ethical. How, though, can we evaluate whether the essay writing companies that produce these papers are ethical?
The Ethics of Paper Writing
Professionally written essays are legal. We should start with that fact. Under freedom of speech doctrines, it is perfectly legal to pay someone to write an essay to order according to your requirements. The question isn’t whether it is legal but whether it is ethical to provide this service to students. In some cases, there are companies that knowingly produce papers for contract cheating and in other cases they produce papers to help students develop their own work. The ethics of paper writing, therefore, are a little complicated and can be challenging to parse.
First, to evaluate essay writing companies’ ethics would require making generalizations that don’t apply to everyone. We will need to distinguish between different classes of essay writing company. The first and most ethical is the full-service essay writing firm that provides custom written writing services alongside editing and tutoring services. These full-service professional essay writing companies offer an essay writing service with the understanding and typically an explicit disclaimer that the essay is not to be used as a submission for course credit. These companies advise their clients that it is important to use papers for their intended purpose, to develop their own writing skills.
The second category are companies that provide essay writing services but do not clearly explain how the papers should or should not be used. They may have a disclaimer on their website but will market their services to students looking for contract cheating with a wink and a nod. They aren’t breaking any laws, and their official position may be that papers should only be used ethically, but they are teetering on an ethical edge by tacitly condoning unethical behavior.
The third category of companies that provide professional essay writing service acts unethically by explicitly marketing its services to students looking for contract cheating and make promises such as claiming that their papers will earn high grades or won’t be caught by instructors. These services act unethically and purposely try to circumvent academic honesty policies to enable students to cheat.
Finding and Ethical Service
When you need a paper written by a professional, you should look for an ethical service that will respect you and the educational process. The first thing to look for is a service that is upfront about how a paper should or should not be used. If a service promises that you can use their papers in place of your own work, you know that they are likely to be acting unethically. If a service is clear that papers are intended as models and guides and should not be submitted for academic credit in place of your own work, then you are more likely to be dealing with an ethical writing service.
You will also want to look to see whether the service promises that its papers are free from plagiarism. An ethical service will always produce their own writing and will never copy from the internet for from other papers. Similarly, you should check to make sure that the service has a clear refund and revision policy to ensure that they will act ethically should anything go wrong during the writing process. You need to make sure that you are protected at every step of the process. Beyond this, you should ask whether the service protects your personal data or whether they will ever sell personal information to a third party. You want to make sure your data is safe.
If you need a professional essay writing service, it’s always a safe bet to choose the most ethical option. Just remember: These papers are designed to help you learn, so be sure to use them for their intended purpose.