Ghostwriters guaranteeing grades?

Lines, L., 2016. Ghostwriters guaranteeing grades? The quality of online ghostwriting services available to tertiary students in Australia. Teaching in Higher Education, 21(8), pp.889-914.


Ghostwriting is difficult to detect, it has the potential to be high quality, and universities do not currently have adequate policies in place to police it. Determining the quality of the ghostwriting services available to tertiary students is of vital importance because underestimating the potential for students to use these services to pass their courses affects universities’ ability to detect their use and counteract their prevalence. This study examines the service being advertised to students by the 30 top-ranked ghostwriting websites. The study examines the quality of the service being offered by purchasing 2 essays from 13 of these businesses, 1 undergraduate and 1 postgraduate. These essays were graded by three academics who believed they were grading real student papers. The results of the study are alarming because they imply that had these essays been submitted to a university, the majority of them would have passed without any plagiarism detected.

Dr. Thomas Lancaster is an international expert in academic integrity, best known for raising awareness of contract cheating through leading research and other activities. He regularly provides expert seminars and media commentary. Thomas is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Computer Science practitioner. To discuss opportunities to work with Thomas, please contact
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