Website cribs but only for the very rich

22nd May 1998 at 01:00
Can't be bothered researching and writing those troublesome A-level papers? Got loads of money, or at least Mum or Dad's credit card number? Then you're set - just log on to:

www.research-assistance.com

and start searching.

Based in Los Angeles, Research Assistance offers more than 20,000 pre-written reports on its Website and claims to be "the best single research source in America".

All you have to do is search by key word, or pick your subject from the index. Under literature, for example, one can choose from American, children, classic (Greek and Roman), English, poetry, Russian and world.

In the section on Charles Dickens' writing, report number 18295 explores the "psychological effect of desire for money and property on Joe, Mrs Joe, Pumblechook, Miss Havisham, Estella, Pip and Wemmick".

The five pages contain nine citations, but just one bibliographic source. And what would you expect to pay for these words of wisdom? At Research Assistance, only $37.50 (pound;23.43 - that's just $7.50 or pound;4.68 a page). But do not forget to add $10 for delivery by e-mail, or $25 by fax. Overnight courier delivery is a snip at $35.

Sadly, Web surfers do not get to try before they buy, so unless Internet-savvy students are very wealthy indeed, teachers need not get too concerned about this new way to cheat on assignments. Neither should libraries start worrying about going out of business just yet.

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