There are three points of view used in writing – the first person, second person, and third person. In the writing field, these three POVs serve different purposes. However, many scholars, academics, and writers seem not to have reached a consensus on which POV is best for academic and scientific papers such as research papers or theses. And sometimes, this argument makes students wonder which POV is best for their assignments. This article will help you to understand how each POV works. Let’s see the situations where you can use each of the points of view and which is most suitable for research papers.
First person form of writing
The first person is a form of writing in personal verbs and pronouns. This style of writing is most suitable for journals, books, and other personal information contents, according to Enago Academy. The first person POV, however, is not common and is often discouraged in academic writings such as an essay or research paper. Scholars are advised against using it is simply because personal pronouns such as “I, we, our, us, my, mine and ours” may engender personal bias and subjectivity in research papers.
Secondly, the use of the first person also gives the impression that the writer is self-serving and arrogant. An example such as “based on my findings, I conclude that A has a causal effect on B” makes it seem like the result is independent of a studied entity or have no one who contributed to the research.
However, there are ongoing debates on the use of the first person. In fact, its point of view has been in existence in academic writings until the 1920s when the academic world had a paradigm shift from the first to the third person. Today, we often see cases where scholars use the first person in parts of research papers such as in the abstract, introduction, discussion and conclusion.
However, many academic styles such as APA are now beginning to recommend writing in the first person. Writing services like https://thesisgeek.com/ say that this point of view is most suitable in conversational writings; something which is rare or forbidden in academic papers.
Second person form of writing
The second person point of view is used in writing or speech which directly addresses an audience with pronouns such as “you,” “thou,” etc. Because it gives the impression that an action is happening to the writer, the second person is out of the question. This is because researches are studies of external elements and it’s wrong to directly address an audience in research. Instead, you will only find pronouns such as “you” in informal writings like letters, instructions, pieces of advice and even in advertising contents.
Third person form of writing
The third person, the key component of academic writing, is a voice that offers objectivity to academic papers and journalistic writings. Writers using this form of writing always know what will happen in the story or written text because they have already made a prior study of what to say or write.
It can be easily implemented by avoiding words and phrases from the first or second perspective of the person. It is expected that whoever writes a research paper should generally use the third person.
Writings in this point of view for academic or research texts are characterized by the absence of pronouns in first or second person. You can only use third-person pronouns such as “he”, “she”, “their”, “they”, among others.
For example, instead of “my opinion is”, the researcher must say: “in the opinion of the author”, or “the researcher found…”. Clear examples of research papers written in this form are samples found at Superior Papers, a popular online custom writing service.
How to write a third-person research article
A researcher can follow some simple golden rules to adopt this writing style and conform to standards for academic research work.
Write your research work in a natural way. As an inexperienced writer, if you think of the third person too much, you may have difficulty going from phrase to phrase. Since you want to write as much information as possible in your first draft, simply write the work as it comes to you. You can come back later and fix the third person.
Do a search for the “I” words. The statements written from this perspective are in the first person and should be changed or removed. Oftentimes, novice writers use “I think” or “I feel” when writing. Instead, look for proven facts. For example, you can change the phrase “I feel that Chicago is the best city in the United States” to “According to a survey of New York Times readers, Chicago was rated as the number one city in the United States in 2011.”
Find all instances of the words “we” and “us”. It is necessary to eliminate these too. Instead of writing “we can all do something better to stop pollution,” you can write “the population of the US has to solve the problem of pollution.”
Eliminate all uses of “you”. This is a warning sign that you are using the second person (as this phrase does). Even though you will be speaking to a specific reader, you should not use this word in your research work. This way, you can keep the work free from subjectivity. Once again, you can achieve this by changing some sentences.
The first-person view is personal and direct. Meanwhile, it takes a neutral and distant form. This makes it the most universal style of writing. The third person is the best POV for all formal writings, of which a research paper is one. However, it’s not immodest to write in the first person as there’s no rule that forbids such. While MLA supports only the use of the third person, APA recommends first person and Chicago favors the use of the firstone. In the end, it all depends on the academic style of writing which your institution recommends.