But is it cheating?

Students will still cheat even if they think it is illegal, according to a new international study by Deakin University.

The researchers asked thousands of students across three continents if they thought outsourcing their work should be illegal. Some three in five said such cheating should be outlawed, and three-quarters of respondents believed both the essay mills and individuals using them should be prosecuted.

However, just over one in five (22%) of students thought cheating was ‘not against the law’, with another 54% saying they were ‘unsure’. This mattered little though, as the researchers found views of legality had little effect of student’s propensity to cheat.

Co-authour of the study, Phillip Dawson, admitted he assumed students who thought cheating was illegal wouldn’t do it. His research provided otherwise! Dawson felt their willingness to cheat suggests that they do not expect to be caught.

Currently, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of US states (17 in all) prohibit students outsourcing their work to third-party services. The UK Government is also looking at introducing legislation to stop the essay mills.