Like the educational system in many countries,
Armenia's institutions of higher education (IHE)
require students to prepare theses as part of
their degree requirements.
And, also like other countries, some find ways
to shortcut the process.
In the halls of universities in Yerevan, students
can find notices for services from which they
can buy abstracts and theses.
Doing someone else's work has become a minor
industry for certain researchers, some of whom
will talk about their questionable service but
none of whom would agree to be photographed.
"Mainly graduates from IHEs, who are also
postgraduate students, are working with us,"
says Ruben Sargsyan, who is in charge of one such
service. Sargsyan says his clients are primarily
those who "don't' have a great interest towards
The organization has been functioning for one
year (though not registered as a legitimate business).
Approximately 30 specialists are writing undergraduate
theses, abstracts and even graduation projects
An average paper can be prepared in as little
as two to three days, at a cost of about 250-300
drams (about 45-60 cents) per page. A normal abstract
can be bought for about $9-12 and a graduate theses
for from about $30-60.
Every year several thousand abstracts and undergraduate
theses are written and 20 to 30 graduate papers.
Sargsyan says there are more than 50 businesses
like his in Yerevan. Sometimes the work is also
done by senior students.
For instance, in the Yerevan State Polytechnic
University senior students write undergraduate
theses and fill notebooks for laboratory works
of such subjects as graphics, electro-technics,
and applied mechanics.
"Mostly students of different departments
of Yerevan Economic University apply to me, more
often than students of departments of international
relations, Law, economy and Armenian philology
of Yerevan State University," said a Yerevan
librarian who sells research papers. "They
tell about the topic of an abstract, volume and
rarely a plan and list of the literature that
can be used. I prepare the work in one to two
days and give to a student." The librarian's
rates are cheaper than other services, only about
30 to 50 cents per page.
"I know from my practice," she says,
"that mainly they apply when they know the
theme but they work somewhere and have no time
for preparing it themselves or they cannot find
The librarian has a degree in economics and graduated
10 years ago. She has been "rendering assistance"
for five years. During a year she writes 20 to
25 undergraduate theses and abstracts.
"If I could keep in mind everything I had
written I would have probably gone mad by this
time," she said. "There were several
topics which I was really interested in. I carefully
studied them and in other cases I just read different
sources and collected different opinions and view
While the idea of "renting" a researcher
is widespread, educators fear it has detrimental
"The answers during workshop works or exams
are mainly bookish and students are not liberated
enough," said bachelor of the Faculty of
Philosophy of Yerevan State University Armineh
Hayrapetyan. "I will never change the pleasure
of discovering something, pushing your ideas,
proving something and even denying some accepted
points of view during preparing abstracts or undergraduate
theses for something else. Maybe that's why our
students do those kind of works themselves."
Those who are providing the service say if it
may not be the best way for students to prepare,
it at least is a steady job for those hired for
"Every third person on does this kind of
work," the librarian said. "The other
third is looking for clients and the other third
is thinking about doing the work even though he
or she doesn't talk loudly about it."