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Can You Use I or We in a Research Paper?

Can You Use I or We in a Research Paper?

4-minute read

  • 11th July 2023

Writing in the first person, or using I and we pronouns, has traditionally been frowned upon in academic writing . But despite this long-standing norm, writing in the first person isn’t actually prohibited. In fact, it’s becoming more acceptable – even in research papers.

 If you’re wondering whether you can use I (or we ) in your research paper, you should check with your institution first and foremost. Many schools have rules regarding first-person use. If it’s up to you, though, we still recommend some guidelines. Check out our tips below!

When Is It Most Acceptable to Write in the First Person?

Certain sections of your paper are more conducive to writing in the first person. Typically, the first person makes sense in the abstract, introduction, discussion, and conclusion sections. You should still limit your use of I and we , though, or your essay may start to sound like a personal narrative .

 Using first-person pronouns is most useful and acceptable in the following circumstances.

When doing so removes the passive voice and adds flow

Sometimes, writers have to bend over backward just to avoid using the first person, often producing clunky sentences and a lot of passive voice constructions. The first person can remedy this. For example: 

Both sentences are fine, but the second one flows better and is easier to read.

When doing so differentiates between your research and other literature

When discussing literature from other researchers and authors, you might be comparing it with your own findings or hypotheses . Using the first person can help clarify that you are engaging in such a comparison. For example: 

 In the first sentence, using “the author” to avoid the first person creates ambiguity. The second sentence prevents misinterpretation.

When doing so allows you to express your interest in the subject

In some instances, you may need to provide background for why you’re researching your topic. This information may include your personal interest in or experience with the subject, both of which are easier to express using first-person pronouns. For example:

Expressing personal experiences and viewpoints isn’t always a good idea in research papers. When it’s appropriate to do so, though, just make sure you don’t overuse the first person.

When to Avoid Writing in the First Person

It’s usually a good idea to stick to the third person in the methods and results sections of your research paper. Additionally, be careful not to use the first person when:

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●  It makes your findings seem like personal observations rather than factual results.

●  It removes objectivity and implies that the writing may be biased .

●  It appears in phrases such as I think or I believe , which can weaken your writing.

Keeping Your Writing Formal and Objective

Using the first person while maintaining a formal tone can be tricky, but keeping a few tips in mind can help you strike a balance. The important thing is to make sure the tone isn’t too conversational.

 To achieve this, avoid referring to the readers, such as with the second-person you . Use we and us only when referring to yourself and the other authors/researchers involved in the paper, not the audience.

It’s becoming more acceptable in the academic world to use first-person pronouns such as we and I in research papers. But make sure you check with your instructor or institution first because they may have strict rules regarding this practice.

 If you do decide to use the first person, make sure you do so effectively by following the tips we’ve laid out in this guide. And once you’ve written a draft, send us a copy! Our expert proofreaders and editors will be happy to check your grammar, spelling, word choice, references, tone, and more. Submit a 500-word sample today!

Is it ever acceptable to use I or we in a research paper?

In some instances, using first-person pronouns can help you to establish credibility, add clarity, and make the writing easier to read.

How can I avoid using I in my writing?

Writing in the passive voice can help you to avoid using the first person.

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Can You Use First-Person Pronouns (I/we) in a Research Paper?

can you use i in a research paper

Research writers frequently wonder whether the first person can be used in academic and scientific writing. In truth, for generations, we’ve been discouraged from using “I” and “we” in academic writing simply due to old habits. That’s right—there’s no reason why you can’t use these words! In fact, the academic community used first-person pronouns until the 1920s, when the third person and passive-voice constructions (that is, “boring” writing) were adopted–prominently expressed, for example, in Strunk and White’s classic writing manual “Elements of Style” first published in 1918, that advised writers to place themselves “in the background” and not draw attention to themselves.

In recent decades, however, changing attitudes about the first person in academic writing has led to a paradigm shift, and we have, however, we’ve shifted back to producing active and engaging prose that incorporates the first person.

Can You Use “I” in a Research Paper?

However, “I” and “we” still have some generally accepted pronoun rules writers should follow. For example, the first person is more likely used in the abstract , Introduction section , Discussion section , and Conclusion section of an academic paper while the third person and passive constructions are found in the Methods section and Results section .

In this article, we discuss when you should avoid personal pronouns and when they may enhance your writing.

It’s Okay to Use First-Person Pronouns to:

  • clarify meaning by eliminating passive voice constructions;
  • establish authority and credibility (e.g., assert ethos, the Aristotelian rhetorical term referring to the personal character);
  • express interest in a subject matter (typically found in rapid correspondence);
  • establish personal connections with readers, particularly regarding anecdotal or hypothetical situations (common in philosophy, religion, and similar fields, particularly to explore how certain concepts might impact personal life. Additionally, artistic disciplines may also encourage personal perspectives more than other subjects);
  • to emphasize or distinguish your perspective while discussing existing literature; and
  • to create a conversational tone (rare in academic writing).

The First Person Should Be Avoided When:

  • doing so would remove objectivity and give the impression that results or observations are unique to your perspective;
  • you wish to maintain an objective tone that would suggest your study minimized biases as best as possible; and
  • expressing your thoughts generally (phrases like “I think” are unnecessary because any statement that isn’t cited should be yours).

Usage Examples

The following examples compare the impact of using and avoiding first-person pronouns.

Example 1 (First Person Preferred):

To understand the effects of global warming on coastal regions,  changes in sea levels, storm surge occurrences and precipitation amounts  were examined .

[Note: When a long phrase acts as the subject of a passive-voice construction, the sentence becomes difficult to digest. Additionally, since the author(s) conducted the research, it would be clearer to specifically mention them when discussing the focus of a project.]

We examined  changes in sea levels, storm surge occurrences, and precipitation amounts to understand how global warming impacts coastal regions.

[Note: When describing the focus of a research project, authors often replace “we” with phrases such as “this study” or “this paper.” “We,” however, is acceptable in this context, including for scientific disciplines. In fact, papers published the vast majority of scientific journals these days use “we” to establish an active voice.   Be careful when using “this study” or “this paper” with verbs that clearly couldn’t have performed the action.   For example, “we attempt to demonstrate” works, but “the study attempts to demonstrate” does not; the study is not a person.]

Example 2 (First Person Discouraged):

From the various data points  we have received ,  we observed  that higher frequencies of runoffs from heavy rainfall have occurred in coastal regions where temperatures have increased by at least 0.9°C.

[Note: Introducing personal pronouns when discussing results raises questions regarding the reproducibility of a study. However, mathematics fields generally tolerate phrases such as “in X example, we see…”]

Coastal regions  with temperature increases averaging more than 0.9°C  experienced  higher frequencies of runoffs from heavy rainfall.

[Note: We removed the passive voice and maintained objectivity and assertiveness by specifically identifying the cause-and-effect elements as the actor and recipient of the main action verb. Additionally, in this version, the results appear independent of any person’s perspective.] 

Example 3 (First Person Preferred):

In contrast to the study by Jones et al. (2001), which suggests that milk consumption is safe for adults, the Miller study (2005) revealed the potential hazards of ingesting milk.  The authors confirm  this latter finding.

[Note: “Authors” in the last sentence above is unclear. Does the term refer to Jones et al., Miller, or the authors of the current paper?]

In contrast to the study by Jones et al. (2001), which suggests that milk consumption is safe for adults, the Miller study (2005) revealed the potential hazards of ingesting milk.  We confirm  this latter finding.

[Note: By using “we,” this sentence clarifies the actor and emphasizes the significance of the recent findings reported in this paper. Indeed, “I” and “we” are acceptable in most scientific fields to compare an author’s works with other researchers’ publications. The APA encourages using personal pronouns for this context. The social sciences broaden this scope to allow discussion of personal perspectives, irrespective of comparisons to other literature.]

Other Tips about Using Personal Pronouns

  • Avoid starting a sentence with personal pronouns. The beginning of a sentence is a noticeable position that draws readers’ attention. Thus, using personal pronouns as the first one or two words of a sentence will draw unnecessary attention to them (unless, of course, that was your intent).
  • Be careful how you define “we.” It should only refer to the authors and never the audience unless your intention is to write a conversational piece rather than a scholarly document! After all, the readers were not involved in analyzing or formulating the conclusions presented in your paper (although, we note that the point of your paper is to persuade readers to reach the same conclusions you did). While this is not a hard-and-fast rule, if you do want to use “we” to refer to a larger class of people, clearly define the term “we” in the sentence. For example, “As researchers, we frequently question…”
  • First-person writing is becoming more acceptable under Modern English usage standards; however, the second-person pronoun “you” is still generally unacceptable because it is too casual for academic writing.
  • Take all of the above notes with a grain of salt. That is,  double-check your institution or target journal’s author guidelines .  Some organizations may prohibit the use of personal pronouns.
  • As an extra tip, before submission, you should always read through the most recent issues of a journal to get a better sense of the editors’ preferred writing styles and conventions.

Wordvice Resources

For more general advice on how to use active and passive voice in research papers, on how to paraphrase , or for a list of useful phrases for academic writing , head over to the Wordvice Academic Resources pages . And for more professional proofreading services , visit our Academic Editing and P aper Editing Services pages.

Using “I” in Academic Writing

Traditionally, some fields have frowned on the use of the first-person singular in an academic essay and others have encouraged that use, and both the frowning and the encouraging persist today—and there are good reasons for both positions (see “Should I”).

I recommend that you not look on the question of using “I” in an academic paper as a matter of a rule to follow, as part of a political agenda (see webb), or even as the need to create a strategy to avoid falling into Scylla-or-Charybdis error. Let the first-person singular be, instead, a tool that you take out when you think it’s needed and that you leave in the toolbox when you think it’s not.

Examples of When “I” May Be Needed

  • You are narrating how you made a discovery, and the process of your discovering is important or at the very least entertaining.
  • You are describing how you teach something and how your students have responded or respond.
  • You disagree with another scholar and want to stress that you are not waving the banner of absolute truth.
  • You need “I” for rhetorical effect, to be clear, simple, or direct.

Examples of When “I” Should Be Given a Rest

  • It’s off-putting to readers, generally, when “I” appears too often. You may not feel one bit modest, but remember the advice of Benjamin Franklin, still excellent, on the wisdom of preserving the semblance of modesty when your purpose is to convince others.
  • You are the author of your paper, so if an opinion is expressed in it, it is usually clear that this opinion is yours. You don’t have to add a phrase like, “I believe” or “it seems to me.”

Works Cited

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin . Project Gutenberg , 28 Dec. 2006, www.gutenberg.org/app/uploads/sites/3/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm#I.

“Should I Use “I”?” The Writing Center at UNC—Chapel Hill , writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/should-i-use-i/.

webb, Christine. “The Use of the First Person in Academic Writing: Objectivity, Language, and Gatekeeping.” ResearchGate , July 1992, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1992.tb01974.x.

J.S.Beniwal 05 August 2017 AT 09:08 AM

I have borrowed MLA only yesterday, did my MAEnglish in May 2017.MLA is of immense help for scholars.An overview of the book really enlightened​ me.I should have read it at bachelor's degree level.

Your e-mail address will not be published

Dr. Raymond Harter 25 September 2017 AT 02:09 PM

I discourage the use of "I" in essays for undergraduates to reinforce a conversational tone and to "self-recognize" the writer as an authority or at least a thorough researcher. Writing a play is different than an essay with a purpose.

Osayimwense Osa 22 March 2023 AT 05:03 PM

When a student or writer is strongly and passionately interested in his or her stance and argument to persuade his or her audience, the use of personal pronoun srenghtens his or her passion for the subject. This passion should be clear in his/her expression. However, I encourage the use of the first-person, I, sparingly -- only when and where absolutely necessary.

Eleanor 25 March 2023 AT 04:03 PM

I once had a student use the word "eye" when writing about how to use pronouns. Her peers did not catch it. I made comments, but I think she never understood what eye was saying!

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Should I Use “I”?

What this handout is about.

This handout is about determining when to use first person pronouns (“I”, “we,” “me,” “us,” “my,” and “our”) and personal experience in academic writing. “First person” and “personal experience” might sound like two ways of saying the same thing, but first person and personal experience can work in very different ways in your writing. You might choose to use “I” but not make any reference to your individual experiences in a particular paper. Or you might include a brief description of an experience that could help illustrate a point you’re making without ever using the word “I.” So whether or not you should use first person and personal experience are really two separate questions, both of which this handout addresses. It also offers some alternatives if you decide that either “I” or personal experience isn’t appropriate for your project. If you’ve decided that you do want to use one of them, this handout offers some ideas about how to do so effectively, because in many cases using one or the other might strengthen your writing.

Expectations about academic writing

Students often arrive at college with strict lists of writing rules in mind. Often these are rather strict lists of absolutes, including rules both stated and unstated:

  • Each essay should have exactly five paragraphs.
  • Don’t begin a sentence with “and” or “because.”
  • Never include personal opinion.
  • Never use “I” in essays.

We get these ideas primarily from teachers and other students. Often these ideas are derived from good advice but have been turned into unnecessarily strict rules in our minds. The problem is that overly strict rules about writing can prevent us, as writers, from being flexible enough to learn to adapt to the writing styles of different fields, ranging from the sciences to the humanities, and different kinds of writing projects, ranging from reviews to research.

So when it suits your purpose as a scholar, you will probably need to break some of the old rules, particularly the rules that prohibit first person pronouns and personal experience. Although there are certainly some instructors who think that these rules should be followed (so it is a good idea to ask directly), many instructors in all kinds of fields are finding reason to depart from these rules. Avoiding “I” can lead to awkwardness and vagueness, whereas using it in your writing can improve style and clarity. Using personal experience, when relevant, can add concreteness and even authority to writing that might otherwise be vague and impersonal. Because college writing situations vary widely in terms of stylistic conventions, tone, audience, and purpose, the trick is deciphering the conventions of your writing context and determining how your purpose and audience affect the way you write. The rest of this handout is devoted to strategies for figuring out when to use “I” and personal experience.

Effective uses of “I”:

In many cases, using the first person pronoun can improve your writing, by offering the following benefits:

  • Assertiveness: In some cases you might wish to emphasize agency (who is doing what), as for instance if you need to point out how valuable your particular project is to an academic discipline or to claim your unique perspective or argument.
  • Clarity: Because trying to avoid the first person can lead to awkward constructions and vagueness, using the first person can improve your writing style.
  • Positioning yourself in the essay: In some projects, you need to explain how your research or ideas build on or depart from the work of others, in which case you’ll need to say “I,” “we,” “my,” or “our”; if you wish to claim some kind of authority on the topic, first person may help you do so.

Deciding whether “I” will help your style

Here is an example of how using the first person can make the writing clearer and more assertive:

Original example:

In studying American popular culture of the 1980s, the question of to what degree materialism was a major characteristic of the cultural milieu was explored.

Better example using first person:

In our study of American popular culture of the 1980s, we explored the degree to which materialism characterized the cultural milieu.

The original example sounds less emphatic and direct than the revised version; using “I” allows the writers to avoid the convoluted construction of the original and clarifies who did what.

Here is an example in which alternatives to the first person would be more appropriate:

As I observed the communication styles of first-year Carolina women, I noticed frequent use of non-verbal cues.

Better example:

A study of the communication styles of first-year Carolina women revealed frequent use of non-verbal cues.

In the original example, using the first person grounds the experience heavily in the writer’s subjective, individual perspective, but the writer’s purpose is to describe a phenomenon that is in fact objective or independent of that perspective. Avoiding the first person here creates the desired impression of an observed phenomenon that could be reproduced and also creates a stronger, clearer statement.

Here’s another example in which an alternative to first person works better:

As I was reading this study of medieval village life, I noticed that social class tended to be clearly defined.

This study of medieval village life reveals that social class tended to be clearly defined.

Although you may run across instructors who find the casual style of the original example refreshing, they are probably rare. The revised version sounds more academic and renders the statement more assertive and direct.

Here’s a final example:

I think that Aristotle’s ethical arguments are logical and readily applicable to contemporary cases, or at least it seems that way to me.

Better example

Aristotle’s ethical arguments are logical and readily applicable to contemporary cases.

In this example, there is no real need to announce that that statement about Aristotle is your thought; this is your paper, so readers will assume that the ideas in it are yours.

Determining whether to use “I” according to the conventions of the academic field

Which fields allow “I”?

The rules for this are changing, so it’s always best to ask your instructor if you’re not sure about using first person. But here are some general guidelines.

Sciences: In the past, scientific writers avoided the use of “I” because scientists often view the first person as interfering with the impression of objectivity and impersonality they are seeking to create. But conventions seem to be changing in some cases—for instance, when a scientific writer is describing a project she is working on or positioning that project within the existing research on the topic. Check with your science instructor to find out whether it’s o.k. to use “I” in their class.

Social Sciences: Some social scientists try to avoid “I” for the same reasons that other scientists do. But first person is becoming more commonly accepted, especially when the writer is describing their project or perspective.

Humanities: Ask your instructor whether you should use “I.” The purpose of writing in the humanities is generally to offer your own analysis of language, ideas, or a work of art. Writers in these fields tend to value assertiveness and to emphasize agency (who’s doing what), so the first person is often—but not always—appropriate. Sometimes writers use the first person in a less effective way, preceding an assertion with “I think,” “I feel,” or “I believe” as if such a phrase could replace a real defense of an argument. While your audience is generally interested in your perspective in the humanities fields, readers do expect you to fully argue, support, and illustrate your assertions. Personal belief or opinion is generally not sufficient in itself; you will need evidence of some kind to convince your reader.

Other writing situations: If you’re writing a speech, use of the first and even the second person (“you”) is generally encouraged because these personal pronouns can create a desirable sense of connection between speaker and listener and can contribute to the sense that the speaker is sincere and involved in the issue. If you’re writing a resume, though, avoid the first person; describe your experience, education, and skills without using a personal pronoun (for example, under “Experience” you might write “Volunteered as a peer counselor”).

A note on the second person “you”:

In situations where your intention is to sound conversational and friendly because it suits your purpose, as it does in this handout intended to offer helpful advice, or in a letter or speech, “you” might help to create just the sense of familiarity you’re after. But in most academic writing situations, “you” sounds overly conversational, as for instance in a claim like “when you read the poem ‘The Wasteland,’ you feel a sense of emptiness.” In this case, the “you” sounds overly conversational. The statement would read better as “The poem ‘The Wasteland’ creates a sense of emptiness.” Academic writers almost always use alternatives to the second person pronoun, such as “one,” “the reader,” or “people.”

Personal experience in academic writing

The question of whether personal experience has a place in academic writing depends on context and purpose. In papers that seek to analyze an objective principle or data as in science papers, or in papers for a field that explicitly tries to minimize the effect of the researcher’s presence such as anthropology, personal experience would probably distract from your purpose. But sometimes you might need to explicitly situate your position as researcher in relation to your subject of study. Or if your purpose is to present your individual response to a work of art, to offer examples of how an idea or theory might apply to life, or to use experience as evidence or a demonstration of an abstract principle, personal experience might have a legitimate role to play in your academic writing. Using personal experience effectively usually means keeping it in the service of your argument, as opposed to letting it become an end in itself or take over the paper.

It’s also usually best to keep your real or hypothetical stories brief, but they can strengthen arguments in need of concrete illustrations or even just a little more vitality.

Here are some examples of effective ways to incorporate personal experience in academic writing:

  • Anecdotes: In some cases, brief examples of experiences you’ve had or witnessed may serve as useful illustrations of a point you’re arguing or a theory you’re evaluating. For instance, in philosophical arguments, writers often use a real or hypothetical situation to illustrate abstract ideas and principles.
  • References to your own experience can explain your interest in an issue or even help to establish your authority on a topic.
  • Some specific writing situations, such as application essays, explicitly call for discussion of personal experience.

Here are some suggestions about including personal experience in writing for specific fields:

Philosophy: In philosophical writing, your purpose is generally to reconstruct or evaluate an existing argument, and/or to generate your own. Sometimes, doing this effectively may involve offering a hypothetical example or an illustration. In these cases, you might find that inventing or recounting a scenario that you’ve experienced or witnessed could help demonstrate your point. Personal experience can play a very useful role in your philosophy papers, as long as you always explain to the reader how the experience is related to your argument. (See our handout on writing in philosophy for more information.)

Religion: Religion courses might seem like a place where personal experience would be welcomed. But most religion courses take a cultural, historical, or textual approach, and these generally require objectivity and impersonality. So although you probably have very strong beliefs or powerful experiences in this area that might motivate your interest in the field, they shouldn’t supplant scholarly analysis. But ask your instructor, as it is possible that they are interested in your personal experiences with religion, especially in less formal assignments such as response papers. (See our handout on writing in religious studies for more information.)

Literature, Music, Fine Arts, and Film: Writing projects in these fields can sometimes benefit from the inclusion of personal experience, as long as it isn’t tangential. For instance, your annoyance over your roommate’s habits might not add much to an analysis of “Citizen Kane.” However, if you’re writing about Ridley Scott’s treatment of relationships between women in the movie “Thelma and Louise,” some reference your own observations about these relationships might be relevant if it adds to your analysis of the film. Personal experience can be especially appropriate in a response paper, or in any kind of assignment that asks about your experience of the work as a reader or viewer. Some film and literature scholars are interested in how a film or literary text is received by different audiences, so a discussion of how a particular viewer or reader experiences or identifies with the piece would probably be appropriate. (See our handouts on writing about fiction , art history , and drama for more information.)

Women’s Studies: Women’s Studies classes tend to be taught from a feminist perspective, a perspective which is generally interested in the ways in which individuals experience gender roles. So personal experience can often serve as evidence for your analytical and argumentative papers in this field. This field is also one in which you might be asked to keep a journal, a kind of writing that requires you to apply theoretical concepts to your experiences.

History: If you’re analyzing a historical period or issue, personal experience is less likely to advance your purpose of objectivity. However, some kinds of historical scholarship do involve the exploration of personal histories. So although you might not be referencing your own experience, you might very well be discussing other people’s experiences as illustrations of their historical contexts. (See our handout on writing in history for more information.)

Sciences: Because the primary purpose is to study data and fixed principles in an objective way, personal experience is less likely to have a place in this kind of writing. Often, as in a lab report, your goal is to describe observations in such a way that a reader could duplicate the experiment, so the less extra information, the better. Of course, if you’re working in the social sciences, case studies—accounts of the personal experiences of other people—are a crucial part of your scholarship. (See our handout on  writing in the sciences for more information.)

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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We Vs. They: Using the First & Third Person in Research Papers

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Writing in the first , second , or third person is referred to as the author’s point of view . When we write, our tendency is to personalize the text by writing in the first person . That is, we use pronouns such as “I” and “we”. This is acceptable when writing personal information, a journal, or a book. However, it is not common in academic writing.

Some writers find the use of first , second , or third person point of view a bit confusing while writing research papers. Since second person is avoided while writing in academic or scientific papers, the main confusion remains within first or third person.

In the following sections, we will discuss the usage and examples of the first , second , and third person point of view.

First Person Pronouns

The first person point of view simply means that we use the pronouns that refer to ourselves in the text. These are as follows:

Can we use I or We In the Scientific Paper?

Using these, we present the information based on what “we” found. In science and mathematics, this point of view is rarely used. It is often considered to be somewhat self-serving and arrogant . It is important to remember that when writing your research results, the focus of the communication is the research and not the persons who conducted the research. When you want to persuade the reader, it is best to avoid personal pronouns in academic writing even when it is personal opinion from the authors of the study. In addition to sounding somewhat arrogant, the strength of your findings might be underestimated.

For example:

Based on my results, I concluded that A and B did not equal to C.

In this example, the entire meaning of the research could be misconstrued. The results discussed are not those of the author ; they are generated from the experiment. To refer to the results in this context is incorrect and should be avoided. To make it more appropriate, the above sentence can be revised as follows:

Based on the results of the assay, A and B did not equal to C.

Second Person Pronouns

The second person point of view uses pronouns that refer to the reader. These are as follows:

This point of view is usually used in the context of providing instructions or advice , such as in “how to” manuals or recipe books. The reason behind using the second person is to engage the reader.

You will want to buy a turkey that is large enough to feed your extended family. Before cooking it, you must wash it first thoroughly with cold water.

Although this is a good technique for giving instructions, it is not appropriate in academic or scientific writing.

Third Person Pronouns

The third person point of view uses both proper nouns, such as a person’s name, and pronouns that refer to individuals or groups (e.g., doctors, researchers) but not directly to the reader. The ones that refer to individuals are as follows:

  • Hers (possessive form)
  • His (possessive form)
  • Its (possessive form)
  • One’s (possessive form)

The third person point of view that refers to groups include the following:

  • Their (possessive form)
  • Theirs (plural possessive form)
Everyone at the convention was interested in what Dr. Johnson presented. The instructors decided that the students should help pay for lab supplies. The researchers determined that there was not enough sample material to conduct the assay.

The third person point of view is generally used in scientific papers but, at times, the format can be difficult. We use indefinite pronouns to refer back to the subject but must avoid using masculine or feminine terminology. For example:

A researcher must ensure that he has enough material for his experiment. The nurse must ensure that she has a large enough blood sample for her assay.

Many authors attempt to resolve this issue by using “he or she” or “him or her,” but this gets cumbersome and too many of these can distract the reader. For example:

A researcher must ensure that he or she has enough material for his or her experiment. The nurse must ensure that he or she has a large enough blood sample for his or her assay.

These issues can easily be resolved by making the subjects plural as follows:

Researchers must ensure that they have enough material for their experiment. Nurses must ensure that they have large enough blood samples for their assay.

Exceptions to the Rules

As mentioned earlier, the third person is generally used in scientific writing, but the rules are not quite as stringent anymore. It is now acceptable to use both the first and third person pronouns  in some contexts, but this is still under controversy.  

In a February 2011 blog on Eloquent Science , Professor David M. Schultz presented several opinions on whether the author viewpoints differed. However, there appeared to be no consensus. Some believed that the old rules should stand to avoid subjectivity, while others believed that if the facts were valid, it didn’t matter which point of view was used.

First or Third Person: What Do The Journals Say

In general, it is acceptable in to use the first person point of view in abstracts, introductions, discussions, and conclusions, in some journals. Even then, avoid using “I” in these sections. Instead, use “we” to refer to the group of researchers that were part of the study. The third person point of view is used for writing methods and results sections. Consistency is the key and switching from one point of view to another within sections of a manuscript can be distracting and is discouraged. It is best to always check your author guidelines for that particular journal. Once that is done, make sure your manuscript is free from the above-mentioned or any other grammatical error.

You are the only researcher involved in your thesis project. You want to avoid using the first person point of view throughout, but there are no other researchers on the project so the pronoun “we” would not be appropriate. What do you do and why? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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I am writing the history of an engineering company for which I worked. How do I relate a significant incident that involved me?

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Hi Roger, Thank you for your question. If you are narrating the history for the company that you worked at, you would have to refer to it from an employee’s perspective (third person). If you are writing the history as an account of your experiences with the company (including the significant incident), you could refer to yourself as ”I” or ”My.” (first person) You could go through other articles related to language and grammar on Enago Academy’s website https://enago.com/academy/ to help you with your document drafting. Did you get a chance to install our free Mobile App? https://www.enago.com/academy/mobile-app/ . Make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter: https://www.enago.com/academy/subscribe-now/ .

Good day , i am writing a research paper and m y setting is a company . is it ethical to put the name of the company in the research paper . i the management has allowed me to conduct my research in thir company .

thanks docarlene diaz

Generally authors do not mention the names of the organization separately within the research paper. The name of the educational institution the researcher or the PhD student is working in needs to be mentioned along with the name in the list of authors. However, if the research has been carried out in a company, it might not be mandatory to mention the name after the name in the list of authors. You can check with the author guidelines of your target journal and if needed confirm with the editor of the journal. Also check with the mangement of the company whether they want the name of the company to be mentioned in the research paper.

Finishing up my dissertation the information is clear and concise.

How to write the right first person pronoun if there is a single researcher? Thanks

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Can I Use First Person In a Research Paper? (Quick Answer)

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by  Antony W

July 6, 2022

use first person in research paper

High school teachers, college tutors, and university professors often frown assignments that include personal pronouns. That’s so because writing in first, second, or third person demonstrates an author’s point of view, which, in many cases, tends to be unacceptable.

With the exception of college admission essays , personal statements , and persuasive essays , the use of personal pronoun in academic writing is something you should avoid completely.

One of the questions we get a lot at Help for Assessment is can I use first person in a research paper?

We understand how difficult choosing the right language for research paper writing can be, particularly because there are many language rules that you need to observe. So our goal with this guide is to help you learn more about personal pronouns in research paper.

By the time you finish reading this article, you will have a very clear picture on the issue of using first person in your research paper assignment. 

What’s First Person Pronoun? 

what is first person in research paper

In written and spoken communication, the use of first person pronoun refers to incorporating text that refers to oneself in an assignment. The reference can be in singular or plural form. First person singular include “I”, “Me”, “Mine”, and “My” and first person plural are “we”, “us”, “our”, and “ours”.

Can I Use First Person in a Research Paper? 

The use of first person in a research paper indicates presentation of information based on what you’ve found from your research.

Unfortunately, you can’t and shouldn’t use first person pronoun in your research assignment. From a scientific and mathematical standpoint, the pronoun presents you to your target audience as a self-serving and arrogant person.

Keep in mind that the purpose of a research paper is to provide a comprehensive analysis and response to the research question . The focus is therefore on the research, not the person conducting the research.

We understand that you might want to persuade readers to consider a certain aspect of your research, especially if it’s a personal opinion you want to give. However, you can do so without necessarily sounding personal.

Another reason why it’s a bad idea to use first person pronouns in your research paper is that they to make your overall assignment. Precisely, the first person pronoun can easily underestimate the findings of your research as readers might wonder whether you based your conclusions on facts or just personal opinions.

What’s Second Person Pronoun? 

second person pronoun

The second person pronoun is any word that refers to the reader. These pronouns are “you”, “your”, and “yours”.

This point of view is helpful in the context of providing advice, guides, and tutorials to a given audience.

For example, students searching for programming assignment help online will often land on written and video tutorials that use the second person point of view to give direction on setting up projects and writing code.

Using, the goal of using the second person point of view is to engage an audience to a discussion or a guide, and it tends to serve its purpose quite well.

Can I Use Second Person Pronoun in a Research Paper? 

using second person pronoun

The problem with the second person pronoun is that it gives instructions to an audience, which means it’s not quite effective in academic writing. As such, you should not use the second person pronoun in your research paper.

What’s Third Person Pronoun?

This point of view can use pronouns of individuals or groups or a person’s name. Words such as “he”, “she”, and “one” refers to individuals and words such as  “everyone”,  “they” and “them” refer to a group of people.

Can I Use Third Person Pronoun in a Research Paper? 

The third person pronoun is usually the most appropriate option to use in scientific paper. However, you need to be very careful with how you integrate them in your writing.

First, you have to use indefinite pronoun to refer back to the subject. Second, you should avoid using feminine or masculine terminologies when using third person point of view. So instead of using him, her, him, or her in your research paper, make the subject plural.

What are the Exceptions to these Rules? 

when to use first person in research paper

The argument among academics is that it’s fine to use first person in a research paper. To be precise, you can use the term “I” in the abstract, introduction, discussion, and conclusion in some research papers. However, it’s best to avoid this completely.

If you must use personal pronouns in the assignment, “we” would be the most appropriate.

Also, be careful with how you write the methods and results section. If you must use personal pronouns here, the third person point of view will be most appropriate.

Another important exception that we can’t ignore is the assignment brief. Even if you know certain that personal pronouns are not appropriate in research paper writing, look at the assignment guidelines to figure out what your teacher wants. Your instructor might ask you to use personal pronouns in the assignment, so make sure you don’t skip this part.

When Writing Your Research Paper 

The third person point of view, and particularly referring to subjects and entities by their names (or title) is the acceptable option when writing a research paper.

Another important point worth mentioning is that you need to make sure you’re consistent in your writing. Switching from one point of view to another can only make your research paper hard to read since leads to distraction.

Makes sure you check the assignment guideline provided by your teacher to make sure you’re on the right track as far as using first person pronoun in your assignment is concerned.

Get Help with Research Paper Writing 

Is your research paper almost due but you haven’t started working on it yet? Or maybe you started but you have other urgent assignments to complete? You can take advantage of our  research paper writing service  and get professional academic writing help that enables students to score high grades.

It doesn’t matter if your research topic is complicated or you can’t find the right sources for the assignment. We’re here to help.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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Can you use I in a research paper

In years past, the standard practice in pedagogy was a rejection of the use of I and other first-person pronouns in English language research papers and other academic writing. This position was based on the impression that writers will write with more clarity and objectivity if they avoid self-referencing via the use of I and other first-person words. A good example is the 1918 classic manual by Strunk and White titled “Elements of Style” which had the following advice for students:

“place yourself in the background,” writing “in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the sense and substance of the writing, rather than to the mood and temper of the author.” (70)

According to this traditional view, the ideal rhetorical stance for an academic writer that is undertaking any form of “scientific writing” is to sound dispassionate, impersonal, and (supposedly) unbiased. This doctrine was specifically true for scientific papers where the academic community had in a sense agreed upon that only a passive voice should be used and that the use of personal pronouns should be limited in general, where one avoids using both first person and second person pronouns.

Example of passive voice vs active voice 

 A: Active voice 

– We completed all of the experiments during the second quarter of 2022.

B: Passive voice 

– All of the experiments were completed during the second quarter of 2022.

However, in recent times, though some still hold on to the old doctrine of avoiding first-person pronouns, there has been a significant paradigm shift from this rigid position where the strict rules have to some degree been disregarded, and the use of I in research papers has become more widely accepted and practiced all over the world. For the proponents of the use of I and other first-person pronouns in research papers, the old objectivity argument is an illusion that does not exist.

Here is an aggregation of a few expert opinions about whether you can use I in a research paper.

The APA has a long-standing tradition of allowing the use of the first-person pronoun I in its research papers. More specifically, this policy dates as far back as the second edition of the APA Style Manual which was released in 1974 and has persisted to the manual’s seventh edition [section 4.16] introduced in 2019. Information on this policy can also be found in the seventh edition of the “Concise Guide to the APA Style” published in 2020 as well as on the APA website. According to the APA website:

“Many writers believe the ‘no first-person’ myth, which is that writers cannot use first-person pronouns such as “I” or “we” in an APA Style paper. This myth implies that writers must instead refer to themselves in the third person (e.g., as ‘the author’ or ‘the authors’). However, APA Style has no such rule against using first-person pronouns and actually encourages their use to avoid ambiguity in attribution!”

The association goes even further to provide some clarity by stating that:

“When writing an APA Style paper by yourself, use the first-person pronoun “I” to refer to yourself. And use the pronoun “we” when writing an APA Style paper with others.”

The examples below offer even more clarity as to how to use I in an APA research paper.

“I think……..”

“I believe………”

“I interviewed the participants………”

“I analyzed the data……….”

“My analysis of the data revealed……….”

“We concluded……..”

“Our results showed……..”

In summary, rather than say “The author [third person] interviewed the participants,” the APA allows the use of “I [first person] interviewed the participants.”

The “Advice from the editors” series of the MLA website leaves the use of I in a research paper entirely to the discretion of the writer. The editor in question – Michael Kandel recommends that:

“you [should] not look on the question of using “I” in an academic paper as a matter of a rule to follow, as part of a political agenda (see Webb), or even as the need to create a strategy to avoid falling into Scylla-or-Charybdis error. Let the first-person singular be, instead, a tool that you take out when you think it’s needed and that you leave in the toolbox when you think it’s not.”

Kandel then provides the following examples on when to use and when not to use I in a research paper:

Examples of when I may be necessary

  • You are narrating how you made a discovery, and the process of your discovering is important or at the very least entertaining.
  • You are describing how you teach something and how your students have responded or respond.
  • You disagree with another scholar and want to stress that you are not waving the banner of absolute truth.
  • You need I for rhetorical effect, to be clear, simple, or direct.

Examples of when I should not be considered

  • It’s off-putting to readers, generally, when I appears too often. You may not feel one bit modest, but remember the advice of Benjamin Franklin, still excellent, on the wisdom of preserving the semblance of modesty when your purpose is to convince others.
  • You are the author of your paper, so if an opinion is expressed in it, it is usually clear that this opinion is yours. You don’t have to add a phrase like, “I believe” or “it seems to me.”

Duke University

“Whether working within scientific disciplines, the social sciences, or the humanities, writers often struggle with how to infuse academic material with a unique, personal “voice.” Many writers have been told by teachers not to use the first-person perspective (indicated by words such as I, we, my, and our) when writing academic papers. However, in certain rhetorical situations, self-references can strengthen our argument and clarify our perspective. Depending on the genre and discipline of the academic paper, there may be some common conventions for use of the first person that the writer should observe.” “In addition to observing conventions for first-person references, writers should ask themselves, “What is my personal investment in this piece of work?” The question of whether or not to mention oneself—to I, or not to I—should be considered within this larger context. Although they are not always necessary or advisable, writers should be aware that self-references and use of a personal voice can potentially strengthen an academic argument, when used sparingly and selectively.”

University of British Columbia

“Academic writing is formal in tone and meant to be objective, using cited sources to support an argument or position. This assumes the focus is not the author, but rather the writing. The first-person point of view is considered informal, and is not encouraged in academic writing. First-person can appear to weaken the credibility of the writer in research and argument, as it reads as the writer’s personal opinion. The third-person point of view is often used as an alternative to [the] first-person as the “voice” in academic writing.

Examples of using effective alternatives to the first-person:

  • wrong example: I was reading a study about the rise of feudalism in medieval Europe, and I noticed that social class structure seemed to be clearly determined. (1st person)
  • correct example: This study about the rise of feudalism in medieval Europe reveals that social class structure was clearly determined. (3rd person)

In the wrong example, the focus is on the reader or author of the study while the correct example focuses directly on the study and its findings.

Some general examples for changing first person to third person:

University of Arizona

“ Personal writing, such as for a reflective essay, or a “personal response” discussion posting, can be written in the first person (using “I” and “me”) and may use personal opinions and anecdotes as evidence for the point you are trying to make. Most academic papers (Exposition, Persuasion, and Research Papers) should generally be written in [the] third-person, referring to other authors and researchers from credible and academic sources to support your argument rather than stating your own personal experiences.”

First-person example (only suitable for personal writing):

  • I think Shakespeare’s play  Hamlet is about the relationships between family members. I really liked the play, and in some ways, the characters reminded me of my own family.

Third-person correction (suitable for all other academic writing):

  • Shakespeare’s play  Hamlet  deals with the relationships between family members. In Examining Hamlet, Arnold Latimer describes these relationships as “conflicted” (2005, p. 327).

The pronouns I, me and my have been removed in the second example and instead replaced by academic sources as evidence.

The few sources cited above seem to indicate that even with the paradigm shift from avoidance to acceptance of the use of I in a research paper, opinion is still somewhat divided. However, if I were to take sides, I’ll adopt the advice from MLA and Duke University, both of which imply moderate discretionary use of I when it is most appropriate in a research paper. But as a student, it is very important to follow the instructions from your faculty, department, and/or course instructor. So, consider the following advice from APA:

            “As always, defer to your instructors’ guidelines when writing student papers. For example, your instructor may ask students to avoid using first-person language. If so, follow that guideline for work in your class.”

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Solving an Important Issue in Academic Writing: Can You Use I in a Research Paper?

What will a professor answer if you ask: Can you say I in a research paper? Most professors will answer with a strict no to that question. But is this a one-dimensional issue? Isn’t there more depth to the problem?

You’re also wondering: why can’t I say I in a research paper, when I am the one writing it? There’s an interesting discussion around this issue. Most students would prefer more liberty in academic writing, so they can add uniqueness to their papers and express themselves in any way they want. The academic format is too strict and doesn’t allow for such flexibility.

When you’re working on projects that involve creative writing, using I is not a problem. A research paper, however, is more of an analytic and critical thinking paper, so the guidelines are different. In essence, you’re advised against using I, we, or you in this type of writing.

THE ISSUE OF USING WE IN A RESEARCH PAPER: WHEN IS THIS LANGUAGE ACCEPTABLE?

When you’re providing your own point of view, using I is the natural form of expression that comes to mind. Let’s take an example: we’ll assume you’re writing a research paper from social studies, focused on children living with alcoholic parents. In the introduction, you’ll be required to explain what this research paper is about.

In this research paper, I explored the negative influence that alcoholic parents have on the development on their children.

This seems like the simplest way to describe what your research is focused on. It is an acceptable form of academic writing, but it’s not the style that most academics recommend. This is what the recommended formulation would sound like:

Research has explored the negative influence that alcoholic parents have on the development on their children.

Yes; it sounds weird. No; it’s not how you usually talk when communicating with people around you. Yes; it involves some passive language. Still, it’s the recommended form of academic expression.

There are professors who insist that passive language must be avoided as much as possible, so the sentences will be clearer and more readable. Others, however, will insist on avoiding the use of first-person language. There’s a conflict of opinions here, so the best way to figure out how to write your research paper is by asking direct questions to your professor. When you need more detailed instructions, there’s no shame in asking for them.

THE FINAL ANSWER: CAN YOU USE I IN RESEARCH PAPER?

  • If your professor or mentor says you should write in the most natural way, then it’s okay to use I in your research paper.
  • If you’re referring to the reader and yourself, or you were working on the research paper as part of a team, then it’s okay to use we, too.
  • It’s not OK to use we when you’re only referring to yourself.
  • If your professor tells you that using I is not appropriate in research paper writing, then you should definitely avoid that form of expression. This means you’ll have to rely on passive language, so you’ll avoid first-person writing.

What if you don’t get precise a precise guide for the style of your research paper? Maybe you cannot reach the professor or your email message gets no answer.

In that case, it’s best to stick to the traditional format of research paper writing. What does that mean? – Avoid using I and we!

WHAT’S THE CORRECT WAY TO WRITE A RESEARCH PAPER?

When someone tells you that you should avoid using first person in academic writing, you probably need more information. The instruction is not enough to convince you that avoidance of I is the right way to write a research paper.

There are several factors that go in favor of this point of view:

  • In science and academics, the use of I is considered rather arrogant and self-serving. The most important thing to remember is that you’re not focused on yourself as a writer, but on the research as something that serves the reader and the academic community.
  • It’s best to avoid personal pronouns when engaged in persuasive writing. Saying I believe is not persuasive enough. Here’s another example: Based on my findings, I concluded that alcoholic parents have a negative influence over the emotional development of their children. The more convincing way to formulate that statement would be this one: Based on the research findings, it may be concluded that alcoholic parents have a negative influence over the emotional development of their children. You see? It’s important to focus on the research; not on yourself.
  • It’s also important to avoid the use of you when writing a research paper, since that form of expression is usually implemented when providing instructions or addressing the reader directly. In a research paper, you’re not doing that.

DO YOU NEED HELP TO FIND YOUR ACADEMIC WRITING STYLE?

All these guidelines seem rather simple, don’t they? You’ll just avoid first and second person, and you’ll write your research paper in a format that’s acceptable for the academic community, right? Wrong!

The third person, as a generally used style in academic writing, can impose some difficulties. You cannot use he or she in a research paper, since you’re not writing about particular persons. Instead, you’ll use indefinite pronouns to refer to the subject, while avoiding feminine or masculine terminology.

Finally, there are always some exceptions from the rules, and that makes it even harder for you to find the right style. Who said that college or university education was easy?

Fortunately, there is a solution. You may always buy research paper online. You’ll find the perfect research paper writing service and you’ll collaborate with a professional PhD writer. The writer will take your requirements into consideration, and they will write the perfect research paper that meets all academic writing standards. The good news is that you can hire a professional service for a really affordable price!

Grad Coach

How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

can you use i in a research paper

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications. If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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Writing Research Papers

  • What Types of References Are Appropriate?

When writing a research paper, there are many different types of sources that you might consider citing.  Which are appropriate?  Which are less appropriate?  Here we discuss the different types of sources that you may wish to use when working on a research paper.   

Please note that the following represents a general set of recommended guidelines that is not specific to any class and does not represent department policy.  The types of allowable sources may vary by course and instructor.

Highly appropriate: peer-reviewed journal articles

In general, you should primarily cite peer-reviewed journal articles in your research papers.  Peer-reviewed journal articles are research papers that have been accepted for publication after having undergone a rigorous editorial review process.  During that review process, the article was carefully evaluated by at least one journal editor and a group of reviewers (usually scientists that are experts in the field or topic under investigation).  Often the article underwent revisions before it was judged to be satisfactory for publication. 

Most articles submitted to high quality journals are not accepted for publication.  As such, research that is successfully published in a respected peer-reviewed journal is generally regarded as higher quality than research that is not published or is published elsewhere, such as in a book, magazine, or on a website.  However, just because a study was published in a peer-reviewed journal does not mean that it is free from error or that its conclusions are correct.  Accordingly, it is important to critically read and carefully evaluate all sources, including peer-reviewed journal articles.

Tips for finding and using peer-reviewed journal articles:

  • Many databases, such as PsycINFO, can be set to only search for peer-reviewed journal articles. Other search engines, such as Google Scholar, typically include both peer-reviewed and not peer-reviewed articles in search results, and thus should be used with greater caution. 
  • Even though a peer-reviewed journal article is, by definition, a source that has been carefully vetted through an editorial process, it should still be critically evaluated by the reader. 

Potentially appropriate: books, encyclopedias, and other scholarly works

Another potential source that you might use when writing a research paper is a book, encyclopedia, or an official online source (such as demographic data drawn from a government website).  When relying on such sources, it is important to carefully consider its accuracy and trustworthiness.  For example, books vary in quality; most have not undergone any form of review process other than basic copyediting.  In many cases, a book’s content is little more than the author’s informed or uninformed opinion. 

However, there are books that have been edited prior to publication, as is the case with many reputable encyclopedias; also, many books from academic publishers are comprised of multiple chapters, each written by one or more researchers, with the entire volume carefully reviewed by one or more editors.  In those cases, the book has undergone a form of peer review, albeit often not as rigorous as that for a peer-reviewed journal article.

Tips for using books, encyclopedias, and other scholarly works:

  • When using books, encyclopedias, and other scholarly works (that is, works written or produced by researchers, official agencies, or corporations), it is important to very carefully evaluate the quality of that source.
  • If the source is an edited volume (in which case in the editor(s) will be listed on the cover), is published by a reputable source (such as Academic Press, MIT Press, and others), or is written by a major expert in the field (such as a researcher with a track record of peer-reviewed journal articles on the subject), then it is more likely to be trustworthy.
  • For online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia, an instructor may or may not consider that an acceptable source (by default, don’t assume that a non-peer reviewed source will be considered acceptable). It is best to ask the instructor for clarification. 1

Usually inappropriate: magazines, blogs, and websites  

Most research papers can be written using only peer-reviewed journal articles as sources.  However, for many topics it is possible to find a plethora of sources that have not been peer-reviewed but also discuss the topic.  These may include articles in popular magazines or postings in blogs, forums, and other websites.  In general, although these sources may be well-written and easy to understand, their scientific value is often not as high as that of peer-reviewed articles.  Exceptions include some magazine and newspaper articles that might be cited in a research paper to make a point about public awareness of a given topic, to illustrate beliefs and attitudes about a given topic among journalists, or to refer to a news event that is relevant to a given topic. 

Tips for using magazines, blogs, and websites:

  • Avoid such references if possible. You should primarily focus on peer-reviewed journal articles as sources for your research paper.  High quality research papers typically do not rely on non-academic and not peer-reviewed sources.
  • Refer to non-academic, not peer-reviewed sources sparingly, and if you do, be sure to carefully evaluate the accuracy and scientific merit of the source.

Downloadable Resources

  • How to Write APA Style Research Papers (a comprehensive guide) [ PDF ]
  • Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers (a brief summary) [ PDF ]

Further Resources

How-To Videos     

  • Writing Research Paper Videos

Databases and Search Engines (may require connection to UCSD network)

  • Google Scholar
  • PubMed (NIH/NLM)
  • Web of Science  

UCSD Resources on Finding and Evaluating Sources

  • UCSD Library Databases A-Z
  • UCSD Library Psychology Research Guide: Start Page
  • UCSD Library Psychology Research Guide : Finding Articles
  • UCSD Library Psychology Research Guide : Evaluating Sources

External Resources

  • Critically Reading Journal Articles from PSU/ Colby College
  • How to Seriously Read a Journal Article from Science Magazine
  • How to Read Journal Articles from Harvard University
  • How to Read a Scientific Paper Infographic from Elsevier Publishing
  • Tips for searching PsycINFO from UC Berkeley Library
  • Tips for using PsycINFO effectively from the APA Student Science Council

1 Wikipedia articles vary in quality; the site has a peer review system and the very best articles ( Featured Articles ), which go through a multi-stage review process, rival those in traditional encyclopedias and are considered the highest quality articles on the site.

Prepared by s. c. pan for ucsd psychology, graphic adapted from  t-x-generic-apply.svg , a public domain creation by the tango desktop project..

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  • Research Paper Structure
  • Formatting Research Papers
  • Using Databases and Finding References
  • Evaluating References and Taking Notes
  • Citing References
  • Writing a Literature Review
  • Writing Process and Revising
  • Improving Scientific Writing
  • Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Writing Research Papers Videos

can you use i in a research paper

How to Write a Research Paper

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Research Paper Fundamentals

How to choose a topic or question, how to create a working hypothesis or thesis, common research paper methodologies, how to gather and organize evidence , how to write an outline for your research paper, how to write a rough draft, how to revise your draft, how to produce a final draft, resources for teachers .

It is not fair to say that no one writes anymore. Just about everyone writes text messages, brief emails, or social media posts every single day. Yet, most people don't have a lot of practice with the formal, organized writing required for a good academic research paper. This guide contains links to a variety of resources that can help demystify the process. Some of these resources are intended for teachers; they contain exercises, activities, and teaching strategies. Other resources are intended for direct use by students who are struggling to write papers, or are looking for tips to make the process go more smoothly.

The resources in this section are designed to help students understand the different types of research papers, the general research process, and how to manage their time. Below, you'll find links from university writing centers, the trusted Purdue Online Writing Lab, and more.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

"Genre and the Research Paper" (Purdue OWL)

There are different types of research papers. Different types of scholarly questions will lend themselves to one format or another. This is a brief introduction to the two main genres of research paper: analytic and argumentative. 

"7 Most Popular Types of Research Papers" (Personal-writer.com)

This resource discusses formats that high school students commonly encounter, such as the compare and contrast essay and the definitional essay. Please note that the inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of this company's paid service.

How to Prepare and Plan Out Writing a Research Paper

Teachers can give their students a step-by-step guide like these to help them understand the different steps of the research paper process. These guides can be combined with the time management tools in the next subsection to help students come up with customized calendars for completing their papers.

"Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers" (American University)  

This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics.

"Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College)

This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which describes the work entailed in completing it.

How to Manage Time Effectively

The links below will help students determine how much time is necessary to complete a paper. If your sources are not available online or at your local library, you'll need to leave extra time for the Interlibrary Loan process. Remember that, even if you do not need to consult secondary sources, you'll still need to leave yourself ample time to organize your thoughts.

"Research Paper Planner: Timeline" (Baylor University)

This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment.

"Research Paper Planner" (UCLA)

UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

There's a reason teachers spend a long time talking about choosing a good topic. Without a good topic and a well-formulated research question, it is almost impossible to write a clear and organized paper. The resources below will help you generate ideas and formulate precise questions.

"How to Select a Research Topic" (Univ. of Michigan-Flint)

This resource is designed for college students who are struggling to come up with an appropriate topic. A student who uses this resource and still feels unsure about his or her topic should consult the course instructor for further personalized assistance.

"25 Interesting Research Paper Topics to Get You Started" (Kibin)

This resource, which is probably most appropriate for high school students, provides a list of specific topics to help get students started. It is broken into subsections, such as "paper topics on local issues."

"Writing a Good Research Question" (Grand Canyon University)

This introduction to research questions includes some embedded videos, as well as links to scholarly articles on research questions. This resource would be most appropriate for teachers who are planning lessons on research paper fundamentals.

"How to Write a Research Question the Right Way" (Kibin)

This student-focused resource provides more detail on writing research questions. The language is accessible, and there are embedded videos and examples of good and bad questions.

It is important to have a rough hypothesis or thesis in mind at the beginning of the research process. People who have a sense of what they want to say will have an easier time sorting through scholarly sources and other information. The key, of course, is not to become too wedded to the draft hypothesis or thesis. Just about every working thesis gets changed during the research process.

CrashCourse Video: "Sociology Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is tailored to sociology students, it is applicable to students in a variety of social science disciplines. This video does a good job demonstrating the connection between the brainstorming that goes into selecting a research question and the formulation of a working hypothesis.

"How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Analytical Essay" (YouTube)

Students writing analytical essays will not develop the same type of working hypothesis as students who are writing research papers in other disciplines. For these students, developing the working thesis may happen as a part of the rough draft (see the relevant section below). 

"Research Hypothesis" (Oakland Univ.)

This resource provides some examples of hypotheses in social science disciplines like Political Science and Criminal Justice. These sample hypotheses may also be useful for students in other soft social sciences and humanities disciplines like History.

When grading a research paper, instructors look for a consistent methodology. This section will help you understand different methodological approaches used in research papers. Students will get the most out of these resources if they use them to help prepare for conversations with teachers or discussions in class.

"Types of Research Designs" (USC)

A "research design," used for complex papers, is related to the paper's method. This resource contains introductions to a variety of popular research designs in the social sciences. Although it is not the most intuitive site to read, the information here is very valuable. 

"Major Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is a bit on the dry side, it provides a comprehensive overview of the major research methodologies in a format that might be more accessible to students who have struggled with textbooks or other written resources.

"Humanities Research Strategies" (USC)

This is a portal where students can learn about four methodological approaches for humanities papers: Historical Methodologies, Textual Criticism, Conceptual Analysis, and the Synoptic method.

"Selected Major Social Science Research Methods: Overview" (National Academies Press)

This appendix from the book  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy , printed by National Academies Press, introduces some methods used in social science papers.

"Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: 6. The Methodology" (USC)

This resource from the University of Southern California's library contains tips for writing a methodology section in a research paper.

How to Determine the Best Methodology for You

Anyone who is new to writing research papers should be sure to select a method in consultation with their instructor. These resources can be used to help prepare for that discussion. They may also be used on their own by more advanced students.

"Choosing Appropriate Research Methodologies" (Palgrave Study Skills)

This friendly and approachable resource from Palgrave Macmillan can be used by students who are just starting to think about appropriate methodologies.

"How to Choose Your Research Methods" (NFER (UK))

This is another approachable resource students can use to help narrow down the most appropriate methods for their research projects.

The resources in this section introduce the process of gathering scholarly sources and collecting evidence. You'll find a range of material here, from introductory guides to advanced explications best suited to college students. Please consult the LitCharts  How to Do Academic Research guide for a more comprehensive list of resources devoted to finding scholarly literature.

Google Scholar

Students who have access to library websites with detailed research guides should start there, but people who do not have access to those resources can begin their search for secondary literature here.

"Gathering Appropriate Information" (Texas Gateway)

This resource from the Texas Gateway for online resources introduces students to the research process, and contains interactive exercises. The level of complexity is suitable for middle school, high school, and introductory college classrooms.

"An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods" (NSF)

This PDF from the National Science Foundation goes into detail about best practices and pitfalls in data collection across multiple types of methodologies.

"Social Science Methods for Data Collection and Analysis" (Swiss FIT)

This resource is appropriate for advanced undergraduates or teachers looking to create lessons on research design and data collection. It covers techniques for gathering data via interviews, observations, and other methods.

"Collecting Data by In-depth Interviewing" (Leeds Univ.)

This resource contains enough information about conducting interviews to make it useful for teachers who want to create a lesson plan, but is also accessible enough for college juniors or seniors to make use of it on their own.

There is no "one size fits all" outlining technique. Some students might devote all their energy and attention to the outline in order to avoid the paper. Other students may benefit from being made to sit down and organize their thoughts into a lengthy sentence outline. The resources in this section include strategies and templates for multiple types of outlines. 

"Topic vs. Sentence Outlines" (UC Berkeley)

This resource introduces two basic approaches to outlining: the shorter topic-based approach, and the longer, more detailed sentence-based approach. This resource also contains videos on how to develop paper paragraphs from the sentence-based outline.

"Types of Outlines and Samples" (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue Online Writing Lab's guide is a slightly less detailed discussion of different types of outlines. It contains several sample outlines.

"Writing An Outline" (Austin C.C.)

This resource from a community college contains sample outlines from an American history class that students can use as models.

"How to Structure an Outline for a College Paper" (YouTube)

This brief (sub-2 minute) video from the ExpertVillage YouTube channel provides a model of outline writing for students who are struggling with the idea.

"Outlining" (Harvard)

This is a good resource to consult after completing a draft outline. It offers suggestions for making sure your outline avoids things like unnecessary repetition.

As with outlines, rough drafts can take on many different forms. These resources introduce teachers and students to the various approaches to writing a rough draft. This section also includes resources that will help you cite your sources appropriately according to the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals.

"Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

This resource is useful for teachers in particular, as it provides some suggested exercises to help students with writing a basic rough draft. 

Rough Draft Assignment (Duke of Definition)

This sample assignment, with a brief list of tips, was developed by a high school teacher who runs a very successful and well-reviewed page of educational resources.

"Creating the First Draft of Your Research Paper" (Concordia Univ.)

This resource will be helpful for perfectionists or procrastinators, as it opens by discussing the problem of avoiding writing. It also provides a short list of suggestions meant to get students writing.

Using Proper Citations

There is no such thing as a rough draft of a scholarly citation. These links to the three major citation guides will ensure that your citations follow the correct format. Please consult the LitCharts How to Cite Your Sources guide for more resources.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Some call  The Chicago Manual of Style , which was first published in 1906, "the editors' Bible." The manual is now in its 17th edition, and is popular in the social sciences, historical journals, and some other fields in the humanities.

APA Citation Guide

According to the American Psychological Association, this guide was developed to aid reading comprehension, clarity of communication, and to reduce bias in language in the social and behavioral sciences. Its first full edition was published in 1952, and it is now in its sixth edition.

MLA Citation Guide

The Modern Language Association style is used most commonly within the liberal arts and humanities. The  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  was first published in 1985 and (as of 2008) is in its third edition.

Any professional scholar will tell you that the best research papers are made in the revision stage. No matter how strong your research question or working thesis, it is not possible to write a truly outstanding paper without devoting energy to revision. These resources provide examples of revision exercises for the classroom, as well as tips for students working independently.

"The Art of Revision" (Univ. of Arizona)

This resource provides a wealth of information and suggestions for both students and teachers. There is a list of suggested exercises that teachers might use in class, along with a revision checklist that is useful for teachers and students alike.

"Script for Workshop on Revision" (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt's guide for leading a 50-minute revision workshop can serve as a model for teachers who wish to guide students through the revision process during classtime. 

"Revising Your Paper" (Univ. of Washington)

This detailed handout was designed for students who are beginning the revision process. It discusses different approaches and methods for revision, and also includes a detailed list of things students should look for while they revise.

"Revising Drafts" (UNC Writing Center)

This resource is designed for students and suggests things to look for during the revision process. It provides steps for the process and has a FAQ for students who have questions about why it is important to revise.

Conferencing with Writing Tutors and Instructors

No writer is so good that he or she can't benefit from meeting with instructors or peer tutors. These resources from university writing, learning, and communication centers provide suggestions for how to get the most out of these one-on-one meetings.

"Getting Feedback" (UNC Writing Center)

This very helpful resource talks about how to ask for feedback during the entire writing process. It contains possible questions that students might ask when developing an outline, during the revision process, and after the final draft has been graded.

"Prepare for Your Tutoring Session" (Otis College of Art and Design)

This guide from a university's student learning center contains a lot of helpful tips for getting the most out of working with a writing tutor.

"The Importance of Asking Your Professor" (Univ. of Waterloo)

This article from the university's Writing and Communication Centre's blog contains some suggestions for how and when to get help from professors and Teaching Assistants.

Once you've revised your first draft, you're well on your way to handing in a polished paper. These resources—each of them produced by writing professionals at colleges and universities—outline the steps required in order to produce a final draft. You'll find proofreading tips and checklists in text and video form.

"Developing a Final Draft of a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

While this resource contains suggestions for revision, it also features a couple of helpful checklists for the last stages of completing a final draft.

Basic Final Draft Tips and Checklist (Univ. of Maryland-University College)

This short and accessible resource, part of UMUC's very thorough online guide to writing and research, contains a very basic checklist for students who are getting ready to turn in their final drafts.

Final Draft Checklist (Everett C.C.)

This is another accessible final draft checklist, appropriate for both high school and college students. It suggests reading your essay aloud at least once.

"How to Proofread Your Final Draft" (YouTube)

This video (approximately 5 minutes), produced by Eastern Washington University, gives students tips on proofreading final drafts.

"Proofreading Tips" (Georgia Southern-Armstrong)

This guide will help students learn how to spot common errors in their papers. It suggests focusing on content and editing for grammar and mechanics.

This final set of resources is intended specifically for high school and college instructors. It provides links to unit plans and classroom exercises that can help improve students' research and writing skills. You'll find resources that give an overview of the process, along with activities that focus on how to begin and how to carry out research. 

"Research Paper Complete Resources Pack" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, rubrics, and other resources is designed for high school students. The resources in this packet are aligned to Common Core standards.

"Research Paper—Complete Unit" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, notes, PowerPoints, and other resources has a 4/4 rating with over 700 ratings. It is designed for high school teachers, but might also be useful to college instructors who work with freshmen.

"Teaching Students to Write Good Papers" (Yale)

This resource from Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning is designed for college instructors, and it includes links to appropriate activities and exercises.

"Research Paper Writing: An Overview" (CUNY Brooklyn)

CUNY Brooklyn offers this complete lesson plan for introducing students to research papers. It includes an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides.

"Lesson Plan: How to Begin Writing a Research Paper" (San Jose State Univ.)

This lesson plan is designed for students in the health sciences, so teachers will have to modify it for their own needs. It includes a breakdown of the brainstorming, topic selection, and research question process. 

"Quantitative Techniques for Social Science Research" (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

This is a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used to introduce students to a variety of quantitative methods used in the social sciences.

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Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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can you use i in a research paper

Some scientists can't stop using AI to write research papers

If you read about 'meticulous commendable intricacy' there's a chance a boffin had help.

Linguistic and statistical analyses of scientific articles suggest that generative AI may have been used to write an increasing amount of scientific literature.

Two academic papers assert that analyzing word choice in the corpus of science publications reveals an increasing usage of AI for writing research papers. One study , published in March by Andrew Gray of University College London in the UK, suggests at least one percent – 60,000 or more – of all papers published in 2023 were written at least partially by AI.

A second paper published in April by a Stanford University team in the US claims this figure might range between 6.3 and 17.5 percent, depending on the topic.

Both papers looked for certain words that large language models (LLMs) use habitually, such as “intricate,” “pivotal,” and “meticulously." By tracking the use of those words across scientific literature, and comparing this to words that aren't particularly favored by AI, the two studies say they can detect an increasing reliance on machine learning within the scientific publishing community.

can you use i in a research paper

In Gray's paper, the use of control words like "red," "conclusion," and "after" changed by a few percent from 2019 to 2023. The same was true of other certain adjectives and adverbs until 2023 (termed the post-LLM year by Gray).

In that year use of the words "meticulous," "commendable," and "intricate," rose by 59, 83, and 117 percent respectively, while their prevalence in scientific literature hardly changed between 2019 and 2022. The word with the single biggest increase in prevalence post-2022 was “meticulously”, up 137 percent.

The Stanford paper found similar phenomena, demonstrating a sudden increase for the words "realm," "showcasing," "intricate," and "pivotal." The former two were used about 80 percent more often than in 2021 and 2022, while the latter two were used around 120 and almost 160 percent more frequently respectively.

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The researchers also considered word usage statistics in various scientific disciplines. Computer science and electrical engineering were ahead of the pack when it came to using AI-preferred language, while mathematics, physics, and papers published by the journal Nature, only saw increases of between five and 7.5 percent.

The Stanford bods also noted that authors posting more preprints, working in more crowded fields, and writing shorter papers seem to use AI more frequently. Their paper suggests that a general lack of time and a need to write as much as possible encourages the use of LLMs, which can help increase output.

Potentially the next big controversy in the scientific community

Using AI to help in the research process isn't anything new, and lots of boffins are open about utilizing AI to tweak experiments to achieve better results. However, using AI to actually write abstracts and other chunks of papers is very different, because the general expectation is that scientific articles are written by actual humans, not robots, and at least a couple of publishers consider using LLMs to write papers to be scientific misconduct.

Using AI models can be very risky as they often produce inaccurate text, the very thing scientific literature is not supposed to do. AI models can even fabricate quotations and citations, an occurrence that infamously got two New York attorneys in trouble for citing cases ChatGPT had dreamed up.

"Authors who are using LLM-generated text must be pressured to disclose this or to think twice about whether doing so is appropriate in the first place, as a matter of basic research integrity," University College London’s Gray opined.

The Stanford researchers also raised similar concerns, writing that use of generative AI in scientific literature could create "risks to the security and independence of scientific practice." ®

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Google DeepMind’s new AlphaFold can model a much larger slice of biological life

AlphaFold 3 can predict how DNA, RNA, and other molecules interact, further cementing its leading role in drug discovery and research. Who will benefit?

  • James O'Donnell archive page

Google DeepMind has released an improved version of its biology prediction tool, AlphaFold, that can predict the structures not only of proteins but of nearly all the elements of biological life.

It’s a development that could help accelerate drug discovery and other scientific research. The tool is currently being used to experiment with identifying everything from resilient crops to new vaccines. 

While the previous model, released in 2020, amazed the research community with its ability to predict proteins structures, researchers have been clamoring for the tool to handle more than just proteins. 

Now, DeepMind says, AlphaFold 3 can predict the structures of DNA, RNA, and molecules like ligands, which are essential to drug discovery. DeepMind says the tool provides a more nuanced and dynamic portrait of molecule interactions than anything previously available. 

“Biology is a dynamic system,” DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis told reporters on a call. “Properties of biology emerge through the interactions between different molecules in the cell, and you can think about AlphaFold 3 as our first big sort of step toward [modeling] that.”

AlphaFold 2 helped us better map the human heart , model antimicrobial resistance , and identify the eggs of extinct birds , but we don’t yet know what advances AlphaFold 3 will bring. 

Mohammed AlQuraishi, an assistant professor of systems biology at Columbia University who is unaffiliated with DeepMind, thinks the new version of the model will be even better for drug discovery. “The AlphaFold 2 system only knew about amino acids, so it was of very limited utility for biopharma,” he says. “But now, the system can in principle predict where a drug binds a protein.”

Isomorphic Labs, a drug discovery spinoff of DeepMind, is already using the model for exactly that purpose, collaborating with pharmaceutical companies to try to develop new treatments for diseases, according to DeepMind. 

AlQuraishi says the release marks a big leap forward. But there are caveats.

“It makes the system much more general, and in particular for drug discovery purposes (in early-stage research), it’s far more useful now than AlphaFold 2,” he says. But as with most models, the impact of AlphaFold will depend on how accurate its predictions are. For some uses, AlphaFold 3 has double the success rate of similar leading models like RoseTTAFold. But for others, like protein-RNA interactions, AlQuraishi says it’s still very inaccurate. 

DeepMind says that depending on the interaction being modeled, accuracy can range from 40% to over 80%, and the model will let researchers know how confident it is in its prediction. With less accurate predictions, researchers have to use AlphaFold merely as a starting point before pursuing other methods. Regardless of these ranges in accuracy, if researchers are trying to take the first steps toward answering a question like which enzymes have the potential to break down the plastic in water bottles, it’s vastly more efficient to use a tool like AlphaFold than experimental techniques such as x-ray crystallography. 

A revamped model  

AlphaFold 3’s larger library of molecules and higher level of complexity required improvements to the underlying model architecture. So DeepMind turned to diffusion techniques, which AI researchers have been steadily improving in recent years and now power image and video generators like OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 and Sora. It works by training a model to start with a noisy image and then reduce that noise bit by bit until an accurate prediction emerges. That method allows AlphaFold 3 to handle a much larger set of inputs.

That marked “a big evolution from the previous model,” says John Jumper, director at Google DeepMind. “It really simplified the whole process of getting all these different atoms to work together.”

It also presented new risks. As the AlphaFold 3 paper details, the use of diffusion techniques made it possible for the model to hallucinate, or generate structures that look plausible but in reality could not exist. Researchers reduced that risk by adding more training data to the areas most prone to hallucination, though that doesn’t eliminate the problem completely. 

Restricted access

Part of AlphaFold 3’s impact will depend on how DeepMind divvies up access to the model. For AlphaFold 2, the company released the open-source code , allowing researchers to look under the hood to gain a better understanding of how it worked. It was also available for all purposes, including commercial use by drugmakers. For AlphaFold 3, Hassabis said, there are no current plans to release the full code. The company is instead releasing a public interface for the model called the AlphaFold Server , which imposes limitations on which molecules can be experimented with and can only be used for noncommercial purposes. DeepMind says the interface will lower the technical barrier and broaden the use of the tool to biologists who are less knowledgeable about this technology.

Artificial intelligence

What’s next for generative video.

OpenAI's Sora has raised the bar for AI moviemaking. Here are four things to bear in mind as we wrap our heads around what's coming.

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Is robotics about to have its own ChatGPT moment?

Researchers are using generative AI and other techniques to teach robots new skills—including tasks they could perform in homes.

  • Melissa Heikkilä archive page

The AI Act is done. Here’s what will (and won’t) change

The hard work starts now.

An AI startup made a hyperrealistic deepfake of me that’s so good it’s scary

Synthesia's new technology is impressive but raises big questions about a world where we increasingly can’t tell what’s real.

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  1. Can You Use I or We in a Research Paper?

    Learn when and how to use first-person pronouns in your research paper. Find out the benefits, drawbacks, and guidelines for writing in the first person effectively.

  2. Can You Use First-Person Pronouns (I/we) in a Research Paper?

    Learn the rules and examples of using "I" and "we" in academic writing. Find out when first-person pronouns are preferred, discouraged, or unnecessary in different sections and disciplines of a research paper.

  3. Using "I" in Academic Writing

    Learn when and how to use the first-person singular in an academic paper, with examples and advice from the editors. Find out the pros and cons of using "I" in different fields and situations.

  4. Should I Use "I"?

    Learn when to use first person pronouns ("I", "we", etc.) and personal experience in academic writing. Find out how to decide whether "I" will improve your style, clarity, and authority, and how to follow the conventions of different fields.

  5. First-person pronouns

    If you are writing a paper with coauthors, use the pronoun "we" to refer yourself and your coauthors together. Referring to yourself in the third person. Do not use the third person to refer to yourself. Writers are often tempted to do this as a way to sound more formal or scholarly; however, it can create ambiguity for readers about ...

  6. PDF First Person Usage in Academic Writing

    Using First-Person Pronouns. In most academic writing, first-person pronouns should be avoided. For instance, when writing a research project, words such as "I," "we," "my," or "our" should probably not be used. The same principle applies to lab reports, research papers, literature reviews, and rhetorical analyses, among many ...

  7. Choice of personal pronoun in single-author papers

    If you have coauthors, use we. They go on to lash out against the editorial we. However, avoid using we to refer to broader sets of people—researchers, students, psychologists, Americans, people in general, or even all of humanity—without specifying who you mean (a practice called using the editorial "we"). This can introduce ambiguity ...

  8. We Vs. They: Using the First & Third Person in Research Papers

    That is, we use pronouns such as "I" and "we". This is acceptable when writing personal information, a journal, or a book. However, it is not common in academic writing. Some writers find the use of first, second, or third person point of view a bit confusing while writing research papers. Since second person is avoided while writing in ...

  9. Can I Use First Person In a Research Paper? (Quick Answer)

    The argument among academics is that it's fine to use first person in a research paper. To be precise, you can use the term "I" in the abstract, introduction, discussion, and conclusion in some research papers. However, it's best to avoid this completely. If you must use personal pronouns in the assignment, "we" would be the most ...

  10. Can you use I in a research paper

    Here is an aggregation of a few expert opinions about whether you can use I in a research paper. APA. The APA has a long-standing tradition of allowing the use of the first-person pronoun I in its research papers. More specifically, this policy dates as far back as the second edition of the APA Style Manual which was released in 1974 and has ...

  11. How to Write a Research Paper

    Choose a research paper topic. There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor.. You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.

  12. Answering the Question: "Can You Use I in Research Paper?"

    Learn the pros and cons of using I, we, and you in academic writing, and how to follow the recommended style of your professor or mentor. Find out when it's okay to use first-person pronouns and when to avoid them in research papers.

  13. How To Write A Research Paper (FREE Template

    Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature. As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question.More specifically, that's called a research question, and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What's important to understand though is that you'll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources - for ...

  14. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  15. What Types of References Are Appropriate?

    Potentially appropriate: books, encyclopedias, and other scholarly works. Another potential source that you might use when writing a research paper is a book, encyclopedia, or an official online source (such as demographic data drawn from a government website). When relying on such sources, it is important to carefully consider its accuracy and ...

  16. How to Write Your First Research Paper

    Now that you have the beginning and the conclusion, you can take a bird's-eye view of the whole paper. The outline will allow you to see if the ideas of your paper are coherently structured, if your results are logically built, and if the discussion is linked to the research question in the Introduction.

  17. Is it recommended to use "we" in research papers?

    We is used in papers with multiple authors. Even in papers having only one author/researcher, we is used to draw the reader into the discussion at hand. Moreover, there are several ways to avoid using the passive voice in the absence of we.On the one hand, there are many instances where the passive voice cannot be avoided, while, on the other, we can also be overused to the point of irritation.

  18. Writing a Research Paper

    Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics. What is more, many students will continue to do research throughout their careers, which is one of the ...

  19. How to Write a Research Paper

    This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment. "Research Paper Planner" (UCLA) UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

  20. Research Paper

    Definition: Research Paper is a written document that presents the author's original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue. It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new ...

  21. Words and Phrases to Avoid in Academic Writing

    Words and Phrases to Avoid in Academic Writing. Published on February 6, 2016 by Sarah Vinz.Revised on September 11, 2023. When you are writing a dissertation, thesis, or research paper, many words and phrases that are acceptable in conversations or informal writing are considered inappropriate in academic writing.. You should try to avoid expressions that are too informal, unsophisticated ...

  22. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction. Mission The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement.

  23. Is using singular "they," "their" and "them" acceptable in research

    Short Answer is: Your adviser is correct. In any concise written context, i.e. whose purpose is to deliver factual information as opposed to writing a novel or a poem, the usage of these words should be avoided unless you mean specific group of people, in research papers this is probably never the case because you do not usually discuss someone you discuss his/her work/ideas, unless your ...

  24. I'd like to use a figure from a paper; what's the best way to do this?

    In many cases it's acutally not at all clear that fair use applies to reprinting a figure in your own paper, and there's genuine debate on this among knowledgeable people (see, for example, the comments in the story I linked to). ... the comments in the story I linked to). There are cases where you can make a very compelling case for fair use ...

  25. A Guide on How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

    After drafting your abstract, review it specifically for redundancy and verbosity. You can edit your research paper abstract using content editors and grammar checker tools to ensure an error-free research paper abstract. Word counter tools like QuillBot, Semrush, Word Count, etc. can help ensure you stay within the typical 150-250 word range.

  26. Some scientists can't stop using AI to write research papers

    Some scientists can't stop using AI to write research papers. 29. If you read about 'meticulous commendable intricacy' there's a chance a boffin had help. ... In Gray's paper, the use of control words like "red," "conclusion," and "after" changed by a few percent from 2019 to 2023. The same was true of other certain adjectives and adverbs until ...

  27. How can academics generate great research ideas? Inspiration from

    How can academic scholars come up with great ideas, such that their research becomes even more important, relevant, and interesting? Based on ideation practices of sophisticated companies, this paper triggers academic researchers to self-reflect on: (1) the source used for ideation, (2) the scope applied to ideation, (3) the sharing of ideas during ideation, and (4) the selection of ideas.

  28. Google DeepMind's new AlphaFold can model a much larger slice of

    As the AlphaFold 3 paper details, the use of diffusion techniques made it possible for the model to hallucinate, or generate structures that look plausible but in reality could not exist ...

  29. Full article: High Stakes Assessments in Primary Schools and Teachers

    One argument often made against their use, however, is that they have a negative impact on wellbeing across the education sector, including teachers. ... they are increasingly used in the primary sector as well. England - the empirical setting for this paper - is a prime example. Here, 10/11-year-olds sit Key Stage 2 Statutory Assessment ...

  30. 2024 AP Exam Dates

    AP African American Studies Exam Pilot: For the 2024 AP Exam administration, only schools that are participating in the 2023-24 AP African American Studies Exam Pilot can order and administer the exam. AP Seminar end-of-course exams are only available to students taking AP Seminar at a school participating in the AP Capstone Diploma Program.