The chase starts with an alert from the International Baccalaureate Group on Linked-In.
“Six ways to perform excellent Research for Academic Writing,” it says. It is posted by Matt. And it looks worth following up. On the surface…
Below the surface, though, there are odd things going on. A moment’s careful reading of the Linked-In alert, just that excerpt, might give one pause: “It is pertinent to understand that if one has the skill to excel in academic writing, then they should perform excellent research to match it with.” Ouch!
The Linked-In alert leads to the original article as posted in The Online Schools (Education Reinvented) – under a tab labelled Scholarly Articles, no less.
The article offers a number of tips for conducting research, granted, and the graphic is quite appealing, but as a scholarly article, it does seem lacking. One thing it does have is a note of the (alleged) source of the tips <http://www.writingassistance.co.uk/> – you can see that at the bottom left of the graphic. Whether this source is the inspiration for the graphic or for the text is not stated.
It may not matter. There appears to be nothing on the WritingAssistance.co.uk site which shows that this is the source of the text or the graphic. What is worse – or at least more interesting – is that this site is a custom-paper-writing service, something which the International Baccalaureate would surely not countenance.
As so often, the site warrants investigation, the better to be aware that its services are extremely dubious (see my earlier post Caught Out for a rationale). They claim “We offer the Custom Paper Writing Service in UK, at the most affordable price“ – and at £30.75 for a guaranteed first-class 100% plagiarism-free PhD thesis with a 48 hour turnaround, affordable and cheap they surely are.
But we are talking IB level, not PhD thesis. Don’t worry! They can deliver here too!
It is noteworthy that many custom essay sites state that the papers they deliver should not be submitted as one’s own work; to do so invalidates any guarantees. Not this one. Although they offer consultancy and proof-reading services (presumably for work honestly done), this site states baldly that one can safely submit work supplied by this service:
But if you want time to relax and go on a small vacation while we work on your custom research papers, you can explain all the requirements to the dedicated writer in one meeting and enjoy your time off. And your custom researched papers will be sent to you via mail within the deadline and we will make sure you do not have to make any change to the research papers ensuring a good grad.
So it is odd, the recommendation in the Linked-In International Baccalaureate group, leading to a page which cites a site which not only does not carry the cited information, but which is also a site of dubious worth, in terms of academic honesty.
Also odd, the person who posted the Linked-In alert appears to be connected with a site called AskForEducation.
While that site’s main aim is to help students find online courses, it includes a – wait for it – Scholarly Articles tab, which includes a blog on “Helpful tips on writing a research paper.” <http://www.askforeducation.com/helpful-tips-on-writing-a-research-paper.html>.
These tips are different to the tips claimed to be from the Writing Assistance site. But why didn’t Matt’s post on Linked-In link to his own site, rather than to a more dubious site?
The research tips on both sites guide to very limited versions of research: reviews of the literature. They give no guidance on how to conduct “real” research, the kind of research needed for the International Baccalaureate Extended essay.
Which may be why nobody has commented on the Linked-In page?
I love your blog, you have done some fabulous investigative research there, and it is not that difficult is it? Just follow links and try to find out who has written what. This shows how hard it is to instill a healthy critical attitude in people, to anything that appears on the internet. The IBO has really embarrassed themselves with this I think.