Friday, 23 January 2015

First vs Third person?

A recurring question for academic work is whether to write in the first or third person.  If you are researching someone else’s area, then third is the obvious choice.  However, if you are, as in the case of most teacher researchers, researching YOUR practice / context / setting then I would suggest you use the first person.

Below are four snippets from a discussion board I ran acouple of years ago that I hope you might find useful:

You can write it all in the first person.  Perhaps what Michelle means is that the literature review should only present other people's opinion and not your own.  There might be occasions that bringing your own voice to the review would be useful - hence 'I' in the literature review on these occasions is fine.
03 March 2013 21:27
There are benefits to both first and third person. First person: is more authentic – you can get more passion in the text and therefore more engagement from the reader. Third person: May help you maintain an academic and balanced style. It’s your choice – but if the story is yours, your ‘narrative’, please consider using the first person – perhaps try writing the introduction in the first person and then post it on the Introduction discussion for some feedback.  It's your decision - whatever you feel works best for you - but please be consistent!
18 January 2013 18:41
You should aim for consistency across the piece.  I notice in the draft methodology I have you have used first and third person.  This late on you may benefit from changing to first person because you will gain authenticity, and at the same time be protected against falling into the trap of anecdotal or emotional writing because you wrote it in third person originally.  However, either is acceptable and the only difference in grading will be in the use of English row on the grading grid if you're not consistent.
18 May 2013 10:42
Writing in the third person is perfectly acceptable - although I'm encouraging you to try the first person, note that many colleagues here at the University would frown on such a suggestion - so please don't be swayed by my suggestions - it won't make any difference to the marks.  Though do ensure that if you use the third person that you get the passion and commitment in there - so easy to lose when discussing 'the researcher'.
14 March 2013 23:23