Sunday, 2 November 2014

You can't buy a plagiarism-free essay

It's depressing both as an editor and as a teacher to see how many sites are catering to the overwhelming feeling students get as they approach the challenge of essay writing. Of course you feel stressed and it seems difficult. Your life is busy and writing is work. Hard work. But buying an essay isn't the answer. And it's plagiarism.

Don't be fooled by claims by sites that they will write a "plagiarism-free essay." One of the definitions of plagiarism is "passing off someone else's work as your own." If buying an essay isn't "passing off someone else's work as your own," then what is it? The essay could be custom written for you, but that doesn't make it your work.

In addition, these companies crank out thousands of essays. In high school and the early years of university, the topics don't change much. Loneliness in "Of Mice and Men", Compare and Contrast "The Yellow Wallpaper" with "A Well-Worn Path". The Great Gatsby. Shakespeare. Political Theory. History. The topics barely change. So the guy writing your "custom written" essay has probably written the same essay a dozen times. Do you think it's going to be "original"?

Plagiarism checking services like Turnitin use algorithms to check the writing of a paper against their database of millions of papers. (Each paper it checks gets added to the database.) It then cranks out a plagiarism score. Score too high and your essay gets flagged. Even if it's not a duplicate, you could get called down to discuss why your paper is eerily similar to another paper. And if you didn't write the paper, chances are you won't be able to discuss the details of the paper or the thought processes that went into drafting the paper. You'll have no notes and no outline. Schools don't have to live up to the same evidentiary standards as courts. Unless you dad bought them a new library or gym, you could be out on your ear with a transcript that reads "expelled for plagiarism."

An investigation by the Sydney Herald in Australia, revealed numerous incidents of students purchasing papers from a service called MyMaster. Aided by Turnitin, computer algorithms easily identified papers that were not original. Sydney University, one of a number of institutions named in the investigation, launched its own probe to determine the extent of the cheating. You can be sure that many people's academic careers will be permanently scarred by the fall out from this case.

So that's not the only reason to write your own paper. The best reason to write it yourself is to learn how to write. If you are in university or college for the purpose of getting a better job when you graduate, chances are that you are going to be expected to be able to do some research and writing when you graduate. Your idea of what the working world looks like might have been formed from watching TV or movies, but take it from someone who has been working for a living for 30 years, there is actually a lot more than hanging out at the water cooler. If your idea of work is "The Office" then you are in for a rude awakening.

What are you going to do when, as a young office worker, you are asked to write a summary of some business file? What if you get asked to write the office newsletter? What about a business letter to a client? You need to know how to write if you are going to have a degree.

Enough of the gloom and doom. If your essay is due tomorrow and you stumbled onto this blog post searching for a plagiarism-free essay to buy, don't  get too discouraged. Go ask for three days' extension. That's all you need. Here's the plan.

On day 1, do all the background reading you can for the essay. Yeah, that means reading the novel, if that's what you are writing about. Visit enotes, if you must, for an outline and a discussion of the important plot points and symbolism of most literary works. Read Wikipedia (but don't cite it as a source--find really reliable, academic sources). Ask me for free essay writing help, if you need to. TAKE NOTES. Note page numbers and place sticky notes on the pages where something important happens. By the end of the first day, you should have some general idea of what the topic is.

On day 2, start by making an outline of the argument you need to make. IN POINT FORM, jot down all the ideas you have. Try to have one or two ideas per required paragraph (2 paragraphs per page). For each idea, have one citation. Take that outline, and write out all the ideas and citations. One sentence at a time. One sentence after another. Don't stop until you've written it all out. Go back and write an introduction. Use one of these ideas for an introduction.

On day 3, send the essay to me for editing and polishing. Editing is not plagiarism. I can make the necessary grammatical revisions to your research and writing to ensure your essay gets you the grade you deserve. When I return the edited essay (within 24 or 12 hours depending on your choice) review the changes I've made so you can write better next time.

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