Traditionally, academic writing is impersonal. Personal bias is usually eliminated in order to maintain a strong argument. Hence, the use of I/we remains frowned upon in academic writing. As a general rule, it is best to avoid the use of personal language. Using I/we puts the focus on you and not on the content of your research; this undermines the focus of your research paper.

Simple workarounds: Three instances will be used in this case

  1. Consider using a passive rather than an active sentence: Here is an example: “I selected 6 respondents from 3 districts.” Instead write: “Six respondents were selected from 3 districts.”
  2. Change the subject: As an alternative to using passive verbs, you can change the subject of the sentence. Here is an example: “In our essay, we will discuss …” Instead write: “This essay discusses …” Here is another example: “In Chapter 2, I discussed the main cause of the problem.” Instead write: “Chapter 2 discusses the main cause of the problem.”
  3. Use an impersonal phrase: Here is an example: “I noticed that…” Instead write: “Analysis of the data indicated that…” Other examples of such general statement include: “It can be argued that…”, “It is widely accepted that…”, “It is commonly known that…”


As stated earlier, it is not advised to use personal language in academic writing, I/we can however be used when you are making a personal opinion, such as in conclusion.