Essays academic service

Can a research paper be in first person

  • In the exam First vs;
  • As the Manual states p;
  • Theory, Research, and Treatment, 4, 291—292.

I love this question, because the answer is always a pleasant surprise: I or we is perfectly acceptable in APA Style! In fact, the Publication Manual actually recommends using first person, when appropriate, to avoid ambiguity. What types of ambiguity result when an author goes to great lengths to avoid using I or we? On pages 69—70, the Manual gives three possibilities: Authors sometimes use the third person simply because it sounds more objective.

Authors will often use the authors as a stand-in for I or we, but using this phrase can lead to confusion.

WriteCheck Blog

As Smith and Jones 1999 and Drew 2007 noted, there is no correlation between television viewing time and calorie intake. The authors replicated this finding with three experiments. Or does it refer to the authors of the current paper? We replicated this finding with three experiments. Attempts to avoid first person can also lead to anthropomorphism.

As the Manual notes p.

First vs. third person

Finally, the use of the editorial we can sometimes be confusing. But this doesn't mean we must be completely avoided.

  1. Most professors will answer with a strict no to that question.
  2. This paper assumes that there is a large potential for...
  3. If you want to refer to yourself as well as a broader group, specify to whom we refers.

As the Manual states p. We all have different writing styles, and the use of first person may come more naturally to some than to others. The most important thing to consider, whether using APA Style or another style, is the clarity and accuracy of each sentence in your text.


As always, if you are writing a paper, thesis, or dissertation, your institution may have its own guidelines for the use of first person.

The acceptability of first person is sometimes a hot topic, and guidelines vary from one institution to another. Dissertation committees sometimes advise students to follow APA Style with a list of school-specific exceptions, and the acceptability of first person may be one of these.