What Is Third Person Writing In A Research Paper

When is third-person point of view used?

Third person is used when a degree of objectivity is intended, and it is often used in academic documents, such as research and argument papers. This perspective directs the reader’s attention to the subject being presented and discussed. Third person personal pronouns include he, she, it, they, him, her, them, his, her, hers, its, their, and theirs.

Examples of sentences written from the third person point of view:

  • She went to the library to consult with the reference librarian about her paper’s topic.
  • When he got to his car, he was glad to see that his friend was waiting for him.
  • The students entered the classroom nervously on the first day of class; they had not had the opportunity to become acquainted with their professor or with each other.
  • Jenny and her friend used backpacks to simplify the task of carrying books, notebooks, writing tools and a laptop around campus.
  • Human sex trafficking is a social problem that requires decisive action; its victims should be given the opportunity to escape the cycle of exploitation to which they have become slaves.

Third Person Personal Pronouns

 Subjective ObjectivePossessive
3rd personhe, she, it, theyhim, her, it, themhis, her, hers, its, their, theirs

Differences Between First and Third Person

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. All other Ashford papers (Exposition, Persuasion, and Research Papers) should generally be written in third person, and should use only credible academic sources to support your argument.

EXAMPLES OF FIRST AND THIRD PERSON WRITING

First person example (only acceptable 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 (appropriate 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, pg. 327).

Explanation:In the second example, the pronouns "I" and "me" have been omitted, and academic sources are used as evidence.

First person example (only acceptable for personal writing)

The theory of learning that I relate to the most is Bandura's social cognitive theory. This is the theory that you can learn to do things by observing others. I know this theory is true because I learned how to fix cars by watching my dad over many years.

Third person correction (appropriate for all other academic writing)

Albert Bandura's social cognitive theory is based on the idea that people can acquire knowledge by observing others through social interaction. This theory was demonstrated through Bandura's "Bobo Doll" experiment (1961).

Explanation: In the second examples, the focus is on objective facts, rather than on what "I" think, and academic sources are used as evidence.

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