I recently ran a poll on Twitter on the use of first person in academic writing. This poll was by large the most-voted poll I’ve ever organized, and the discussion was lively as well.
The majority of the people that voted in the poll use “I” in their academic writing. For me, this fact is rather surprising. In my field, it’s quite uncommon to use first person in our writing. I tend to use it in some of my reports, to emphasize that I did the calculations, but in most cases (as you may have noticed from the abstract that I’ve published on this blog) I leave myself out of my writing. Perhaps it’s related to my type of work as well – it’s quite clear to write something like “The bridge has a length of XX m”.
Here’s the poll and its wake: