Is it ethical or unethical to use a prewritten paper?

Is it ethical or unethical to use a prewritten paper?

A prewritten paper is someone else’s research work that they conducted. An example of a prewritten paper that some students use in preparing their own work is term paper which is a form of essay that is about a subject from a course done in a college term. Using a prewritten paper is both ethical and unethical depending on how the prewritten paper is used or cited.

Every prewritten work including term papers has its own author or the person who made the largest intellectual contribution in preparing the work (Elsevier, 2017). Every individual who believes they qualify for authorship for a prewritten work should be listed as an author. Since these papers are readily available in the internet, it is obvious that they will be used as references and to modify topics for future research. In this case I believe that a prewritten paper could be used to certain extend and proper credit should be given to the author of the prewritten paper. 

Citing the author is important as it ensures that credit is given where it is due. This means that the user should accurately cite the prewritten work to acknowledge the author of the prewritten work and the hard work that was done to prepare the research paper (Santini, 2018). Using the prewritten paper and accurately citing it shows that the student has done the research on the given topic and is aware of what other researchers have said about the topic. It is possible that prewritten papers such as term papers are not written by experts and so the claims of the author might not be very credible. Regardless of the qualifications of the author, the prewritten work can be used and cited accurately. 

There are also limitations on how a student can use prewritten work to prepare their own work. For instance, one should not copy the entire prewritten work including ideas, opinions and the research as this would be equal to plagiarism. Even if the professor or the institution does not catch the student, it is unethical to copy someone else’s work and claiming that it is your own. It is the responsibility of the student to conduct research for term papers and other assignments by doing the field study or reading about the work of experts and other qualified person and accurately cite these sources in their final work (Tarkang, Kweku & Zotor, 2017). It is also advisable to use credible sources such as peer-reviewed journal articles, books, newspapers, magazines, and other scholarly pieces of work to prepare research. For example, if one is doing a term paper, they should base it on the course book and other course materials including academic journals. Prewritten work should only be used to borrow an idea or cite an opinion of a previous research.

If a student uses prewritten work and fails to accurately cite it, then he or she should be held accountable. In addition, if the student uses a significant portion of the prewritten work and claim that it is their own, then they should be held accountable (Masic, 2013). Professors and the university also have the responsibility of reviewing each work submitted by a student to ensure that it is original work and that the student has not used someone else’s work and claim that it is their own.  


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