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Scholarly Voice: Second-Person Point of View

Second-Person Point of View

Generally, it is best to avoid second person pronouns in scholarly writing because they remove the distance between the reader and the writer.  Instead, try to use first or third person pronouns to enhance clarity.  Most Walden programs and APA (2010, p. 69) allow the appropriate use of first person.

Here are a few examples.

Paragraph using second person:

Fire safety is important for everyone to learn. You have to evaluate if you would be prepared to face an emergency fire situation. In order to be prepared, you must be familiar with the emergency exits as well as the building's fire safety plan.

Paragraph revised to avoid second person:

Fire safety is important for everyone to learn. A resident must evaluate if he or she would be prepared to face an emergency first situation. In order to be prepared, residents must be familiar with the emergency exits as well as the building's fire safety plan.

Inappropriate use of the first person:

I found the sources to all cover the same topic of workplace bullying. I then surveyed 60 people to find out if the same theory applied to my own workplace.

Appropriate use of the first person:

The sources all covered the topic of workplace bullying. I surveyed 60 people to find out if the same theory applied to my own workplace.