Conceptual Reasons for Using I

Picture3Some argue against the impersonal tone of traditional academic writing. They argue that ‘objectivity’ is impossible because our ideas and interpretations are affected by our personal context and experiences. Such arguments are particularly prevalent in feminist, postcolonialist and poststructuralist discourses. Academic inquiry often involves a great deal of personal engagement on behalf of the scholar, and the direction of research may be driven by personal concerns and life experiences. For some writers, openly discussing how these personal elements have influenced their work is the intellectually honest option. However, this remains an unconventional approach that requires confidence and sophistication to do successfully, as such writing still needs to maintain the academic standard of critical thinking, building on research, and being able to be built on. If you are considering bringing a personal voice and autobiographical material into your undergraduate and postgraduate writing assignments, this is something to think about carefully and discuss with your course tutor.