The use of the first person in academic writing: objectivity, language and gatekeeping



Researchers have experienced difficulties in having papers which are based on qualitative research accepted for publication because the papers have been written in the first person Arguments are presented to show why the use of the neutral, anonymous third person is deceptive when applied to quantitative research because it obliterates the social elements of the research process With regard to research in the qualitative, critical and feminist paradigms, it is further argued that the use of the first person is required in keeping with the epistemologies of the research and in the pursuit of reflexivity Links are made between these arguments and the process of reviewing for academic journals Conclusions are drawn in favour of the use of the first person, where this is appropriate to the mode of research reported and where an author is giving a personal judgement arrived at on the basis of reasonable evidence In keeping with this position, this paper is written in the first person