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How internet essay mills portray the student experience of higher education

Nixon, Elizabeth; Crook, C

How internet essay mills portray the student experience of higher education Thumbnail


C Crook


Higher education is under mounting pressure to confront student practices of assignment outsourcing to internet services. The scale and buoyancy of this ‘essay mill’ industry has now been well documented, including its various marketing techniques for urging students to purchase bespoke academic work. However, the inherently suspect nature of such services demands that they adopt a particularly shrewd and empathic rhetoric to win custom from website visitors. In this paper, we investigate how such rhetoric currently constructs a critical version of the student’s higher education experience. We present a thematic analysis of promotional text and images as found on a large sample of essay mill sites. Findings reveal how these sites promulgate a hostile and negative attitude towards higher educational practice. Yet these findings may also indicate where the higher education sector needs to reflect on its practice, not least in order to resist the toxic messages of essay mills.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 12, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 17, 2020
Publication Date 2021-01
Deposit Date Nov 11, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 18, 2022
Journal Internet and Higher Education
Print ISSN 1096-7516
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Article Number 100775
Public URL
Publisher URL


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