12 Recommendations to Help you Submit a Conventional and Acceptable Paper Tip 6: The ideal voice for a paper: third-person and active 12個獲得學術認可的論文撰寫技巧之六:論文的理想語氣:「第三人稱」與「主動」

The community of scholars has rules that govern how dissertations, theses and other academic papers are composed and formatted. Academic convention has established what is acceptable and what is not. Following is one of 12 recommendations to help you submit a conventional and acceptable paper.

Tip 6 – The ideal voice for a paper: third-person and active

Having resolved to write purposefully and to employ a writing style that emphasizes clear and vital language, the author of an academic paper next must address the mechanics of the language. One of these issues is choosing the appropriate “voice” to communicate the substance of the paper. This is essential. Finding its “voice” is central to a paper’s function and effectiveness.

A letter to a friend is written in casual language, while a scholarship application is formal and respectful. But an academic paper is authoritative. A paper advances an original or unusual idea in a one-on-one forum; advancement depends largely upon the perceived authority of the person voicing the idea. If the written voice resonates with convincing force, it can prevail.

The best way to convey clout is to write the paper from a third-person point of view. This means a writer should not use “I” or “you” or “we” sentence structures, which are perfect for ordinary conversation and quite imperfect for scholarly presentation. Employing the less intimate third-person objective voice lets the collected persuasive material speak for itself.
要讓文句切中要點,最好的方法就是用第三人稱寫作。換句話說,不要採用“I”、 “you” 、 “we”開頭的句子。這些句子用在一般對話中似無不妥,但用在學術表達則顯得有失穩當。第三人稱句子讀起來少了親近、也較客觀,更能突顯文章的整體論述。

The third-person perspective also conveys authority because it increases the “distance” between an author and the subject of a paper. The writer disappears when “I” is dropped from the text. Similarly, the reader is not dragged into it when “you” is absent. The resulting vacuum is filled by the influential “voices” of footnoted experts, laboratory data, and recorded experience.

The other voice rule in writing a paper is to use active language—though not always. Passive sentence construction does maintain desired “distance.” (Example: “The test was repeated four times,” rather than “I repeated the test four times.”) However, an active voice propels a paper. (“Four tests produced identical results.”) Don’t be lulled and dulled by “distance” considerations.

After the writer of an academic paper has exhaustively searched sources and validated a thesis, presenting it in a chatty, overly personal and unprofessional voice is such a wasted opportunity. The mechanics of effective presentation are not difficult to employ. Keep objective distance between writer and subject. Let the facts speak for themselves. Actively make the case.

Posted at 2012-09-14 11:10:49

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