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All Answers' response to the calls to ban essay writing firms

Pubished: September 27, 2018

The news that University bosses are looking to have 'essay mills' banned is not a revelation which greatly perturbs us at All Answers Ltd, for the simple reason that we do not believe this term, or its negative connotations, are applicable to what we do. Universities are looking for a solution to the problem of academic misconduct - and we understand and fully support this endeavour - but in our opinion, a blanket legislative ban is unlikely to achieve the ends they are seeking to achieve.

There are two types of company in our industry: those who promote cheating and couldn't care less about academic integrity, which are largely based overseas; and those like us, who are active in preserving academic integrity, educating our clients about plagiarism and combatting the issue of cheating. Make no mistake – students who contact us with the vaguest allusion to using our service dishonestly are reprimanded and even denied service. We, as a legitimate UK company, refuse to sell to cheats. We are a far cry from those businesses in India, Pakistan, the Ukraine, the USA and so on who actively encourage cheating, and we wish to differentiate ourselves from this category of company in the strongest possible sense.

Some have queried our service's extreme flexibility in terms of customers being able to select specific grades. There is nothing nefarious about this: it is simply the case that many students may not feel confident of their ability to differentiate between different grade boundaries. Offering a range of grades has two purposes: to tailor the study aid to the specific individual's level of understanding; and to help students aspiring to achieve higher grades to understand the specific components of their academic work that they will need to improve upon to meet their stretch goals. In today's ultra-competitive jobs market, and with universities' resources becoming more and more limited all the time, it is logical that students want all the support they can get in standing out from the crowd and achieving their optimum academic performance. In a similar vein, our plagiarism-free guarantee is not in any way intended to promote academic misconduct. We offer this purely because each individual is receiving a bespoke support service from us, and no one student is the same as the next. A face-to-face tutor would tailor their support to an individual student; all we are doing is offering the same courtesy remotely.

Our services are, when used correctly, no different to using the services of a tutor, discussing work with classmates or using published academic resources as a point of reference. The services we provide aim to be the best, most useful study aids in the world - bar none. Our goal is to increase any student's understanding of a topic, as well as their academic writing skills which, all too often, universities offer little guidance about. Students flock to our site not only to purchase tailored help, but to review the numerous help guides and academic resources we provide free of charge. We provide a wealth of content without charge because we are truly committed to helping students learn. Indeed, we have recently launched entirely free 'modules' for popular courses to help students learn the basics or get a feel for a course without having to spend hundreds of pounds on specialist textbooks.

In our opinion, the most relevant question to ask is: would legislation prohibiting this industry actually have the desired impact? After all, most of the companies in this industry are not UK companies; indeed, very few are UK-based and registered. Such companies will therefore continue to work as they always have. Looking to make the service illegal will simply put the demand for these services underground, and if this happens, then an invaluable opportunity to gain control over the industry will have been lost. Universities have repeatedly refused to sanction our use or enter into discussions with us about how to manage the situation, and as a result, the situation has gotten worse. Regardless, we genuinely wish to work with universities and not against them.

So how do we minimise the potential damage of this demand when the demand is constant? Our answer is, and has been for some time, to regulate the industry. Regulation allows us to enhance control over a potential problem and mitigate any harm it could cause; it allows us to gain influence over something, rather than lose it. The demand for such services will not go away, so the argument for taking control rather than driving this demand into the darkness appears to us to be the only sensible answer. We therefore suggest that institutions make students declare usage of services like ours; in turn, operators like us would keep a register of users. This kind of transparency would ensure that the many honest students who use services like ours to enrich their learning have a safe, legitimate and regulated way to use it.

Any talk of proposed legislation will only push demand overseas and further out of any sphere of influence, making what is already a difficult-to-police industry almost impossible to control. We sincerely hope to be able to enter into a discussion about this with the relevant bodies to ensure an outcome which balances the value of individual support in learning and the need to preserve academic integrity.

All Answers Ltd