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Passive voice is often considered more complicated, objective and professional, especially among English learners in Asia. They usually feel that they are demonstrating their proficiency in English through mastering the passive voice. Even school teachers love to encourage students to use more passive voice by awarding it higher marks.
However, when it comes to academic research, whether journal papers should be written in the passive or active voice is a much-debated topic.
Although the passive voice was once considered more objective, the use of the first person is now preferred by the majority of journals.
Check out this advice from two highly-prestigious journals:
So, the key takeaways here are:
In one of our previous blogs, we went through the structure and flow of a journal paper’s introduction and we know that one of its key functions is to provide essential context to the research.
You will probably therefore switch frequently between descriptions of previous studies and your own study. It is critical to make it clear which study you are referring to, and the use of the active voice avoids ambiguity.
Here are some tips:
But Remember, language usage in different fields can vary, so always check how papers in your target journal are written. It is of utmost importance to write in a style that is consistent with the language usage in your particular field.