Can APA be in first person vs. second person vs. third person? The style and tone of your dissertation will depend greatly on your point of view. You may want to make this decision with your dissertation chair as some prefer the first person while others prefer the third person. Also, deciding on this direction early in the dissertation writing process will help to avoid rewriting sections of the paper later. It is much easier to start with the correct point of view rather than going back to try and change all of the occurrences of the third person to the first person later.

Can APA Be In First Person?

Writing in the first person is recommended by APA to avoid ambiguity. First-person writing includes words such as “I,” “me,” “we,” and “us.” When writing a paper by yourself, it may be appropriate to use words such as “I,” whereas writing a paper with more than one author would enable you to write with words such as “we.” Be careful not to use “we” if you are the only author. This causes me to question if you have a mouse in your pocket. APA 7 prefers for authors to not refer to themselves in the third person. Instead of saying “the author did research,” you will simply say, “I did research.”

Can APA Be In Second Person?

Second-person writing includes words such as “you” and “your.” It is best to avoid the second-person point of view in scholarly writing entirely. This may go back to the psychological teaching of using “I statements” instead of “you statements” for best effect. When a person uses “you” instead of “I,” it seems to provoke a defensive stance from the recipient as if they are being accused of something or they are having a finger pointed at them. Therefore, it is best to avoid writing and speaking with “you” statements.

Can APA be In Third Person?

Third-person writing uses words such as the researcher, the scholar, or the writer (instead of I). Historically, many of us were taught to use the third person for formal writing. However, a shift in this decision was made at some point in time, and APA 7 clearly encourages writers to use the first-person point of view instead of the third person. Using third-person writing can get complicated and confusing in a dissertation because there are so many mentions of other authors that the reader becomes unsure if the text is talking about the dissertation student or the empirical author. Again, please speak with your dissertation Chair to see which direction they want you to head in.

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