If the following scenario is an example of plagiarism, what should be done to fix the problem? Nancy finds a website called BuyAPaper.com. She enters her credit card number, and the site e-mails her a paper. She puts her name on the top and turns in the paper.
The "Nancy" scenario is certainly an example of plagiarism. In fact, if you visit the eNotes link for "How to Avoid Plagiarism," the first example offered of plagiarism is buying a paper and presenting it as one's own work. According to Merriam-Webster's definition of "plagiarize," the verb means that culprits
"present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source."
This definition also applies to Nancy's situation because she purchased an existing source and claimed it as her own by putting her name on it.
As far as "fixing the problem," there is no way for Nancy to buy a work which someone else has written, present it as her own, and not have her action be considered plagiarism. Besides the ethical problem behind Nancy's poor choice, other negative factors exist. If Nancy chooses not to complete an assignment herself, chances are she will not develop those skills for future use. Moreover, the chances are high that Nancy will be caught or at the very least receive a low grade. From my experience as an English teacher, students who have purchased papers in the past do not take the time to check if the paper fits the teacher's requirements; so they turn in a mediocre paper which receives a failing grade even without the teacher catching the plagiarism. Similarly, most universities and colleges now use programs such as turnitin.com which have immense resources and histories. When students submit their papers, the program checks their essays against thousands of other papers, and often sites such as BuyAPaper.com cannot stand up against the check system. Finally, when a student is caught plagiarizing, she could face serious consequences such as an automatic failing grade in the class, a blight on her academic record, or in some cases, expulsion.
The only solution to Nancy's "problem" is for her to write her own paper and follow the requirements of the assignment.