dissertation-write it in 1st/2nd/3rd person?

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Sunflowerbee
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Aack
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You write it objectively.

You refrain from voicing your own opinion in the first person.

You should present arguments on both sides, using phrases such as "Some academics believe that..." and "Others may argue that....".

You need to present a balanced argument - disregard your own perspective.
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Aack
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(Original post by Sunflowerbee)
Thanks, I guess i've kind of done that, I dont mention myself at all.
I'm talking about a style movement (punk) but i've written things like
"Some people believe that...", "she was more influential than...", "they admired her honesty...", "people were..."
It's not right is it..?

We didn't have to do any studies, or look at any studies or do any surveys/questionnaires, it was just the usual research. I feel so dumb talking about this, i really don't have a clue..
ugh, i know i'm gonna have to write it again.


Edit: i think i've figured it out now )
Objective is the key - not subjective.

Look up the definition for each online, you will see what I mean
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Adorno
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(Original post by Aack)
You write it objectively.
No, you present an argument - your argument - or else what is the point of an essay? Objectivity in a subject will be a contested realm and in any case, it is impossible to be 100% objective in the non-sciences. If the person writing the essay recognises subjectivity, recognises the imprint of background and ideology on a person, they will write a far superior essay than the person muddling about trying to be objective by presenting both sides.

You should present arguments on both sides, using phrases such as "Some academics believe that..." and "Others may argue that....".
Urgh. Who on earth told you to do that? OP, really avoid using this rubbish. When I'm marking papers, I don't credit stock phrases such as that. If you read journal articles, do they use "some academics believe that"? No, because it's nonsense language to employ.
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Adorno
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(Original post by Sunflowerbee)
Thanks, I guess i've kind of done that, I dont mention myself at all.
I'm talking about a style movement (punk) but i've written things like
"Some people believe that...", "she was more influential than...", "they admired her honesty...", "people were..."
It's not right is it..?
No, it's horrific style. The best way of writing is to be as informal as you can be but still be authoritative in tone. You don't really need to employ stock phrases such as "some people believe that" because the person marking the paper will immediately ask: who. For example:

Some people believe that god is a woman.

Or:

'The femininity of God', writes Germaine Greer, 'is clearly established in such and such passage of the New Testament'. The passage referred to by Greer ....

Which is more indicative of what people are saying and whom?
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Aack
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(Original post by Adorno)
Urgh. Who on earth told you to do that? OP, really avoid using this rubbish. When I'm marking papers, I don't credit stock phrases such as that. If you read journal articles, do they use "some academics believe that"? No, because it's nonsense language to employ.
When you're writing journal articles, you are in a completely different league.

I do law and this is what we're taught. Don't be so obtuse.
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Aack
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(Original post by Adorno)
No, it's horrific style. The best way of writing is to be as informal as you can be but still be authoritative in tone. You don't really need to employ stock phrases such as "some people believe that" because the person marking the paper will immediately ask: who. For example:

Some people believe that god is a woman.

Or:

'The femininity of God', writes Germaine Greer, 'is clearly established in such and such passage of the New Testament'. The passage referred to by Greer ....

Which is more indicative of what people are saying and whom?
Are you seriously suggesting that my examples should be directly employed in her essay?? They were just that - examples.
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Adorno
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(Original post by Aack)
When you're writing journal articles, you are in a completely different league.

I do law and this is what we're taught. Don't be so obtuse.
I'm a PhD history student so you'd think I might know how to write things... a person writing a journal article is still writing an essay. It is style that is desired and will access higher marks in essays. Why? Because most marks schemes include for the very highest marks "of publishable quality" indicating that the ability to write as effectively as a journal article is a desired quality of assessed essay writing at university.

I should also point out that I teach and mark at the undergraduate level.
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Adorno
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(Original post by Aack)
Are you seriously suggesting that my examples should be directly employed in her essay?? They were just that - examples.
I'm suggesting your advice is flawed.
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Aack
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(Original post by Adorno)
I'm a PhD history student so you'd think I might know how to write things... a person writing a journal article is still writing an essay. It is style that is desired and will access higher marks in essays. Why? Because most marks schemes include for the very highest marks "of publishable quality" indicating that the ability to write as effectively as a journal article is a desired quality of assessed essay writing at university.

I should also point out that I teach and mark at the undergraduate level.
The fact that you're a PhD student shows nothing more than arrogance - the only pre-requisite is a degree, which is the level I am at.

The fact is, the assessment criteria will differ according to institution. Maybe the OP should direct her attention there and get back to us.
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hajidel
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Writing dissos and reports at uni should almost always be in the 3rd person without a doubt....
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Footballfiend08
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(Original post by Adorno)
I'm a PhD history student so you'd think I might know how to write things... a person writing a journal article is still writing an essay. It is style that is desired and will access higher marks in essays. Why? Because most marks schemes include for the very highest marks "of publishable quality" indicating that the ability to write as effectively as a journal article is a desired quality of assessed essay writing at university.

I should also point out that I teach and mark at the undergraduate level.
Ive just finished writing my dissertation and im the processes of touching it up. What is the best way to write it in terms of tenses and making arguments??
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Adorno
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(Original post by Footballfiend08)
Ive just finished writing my dissertation and im the processes of touching it up. What is the best way to write it in terms of tenses and making arguments??
In general, you would endeavour to avoid using the first person in the central body of the essay - academics are divided on the level of informality that is tolerated in the introduction and conclusion (i.e. I will argue that ... in place of it is argued below that) but it's probably safest to use the more formal language.

In general you would use present tense for quotations and the general form of the essay. For example:

Instead of Schama has written that "Britain is cool", you ought to try and make the quotation flow. 'Britain', writes Simon Schama, 'is cool'.

Contrary to Mill, this paper argues that Liberty relies on social construction.

This helps you keep your prose in a neater form and that everything hangs together rather than information seeming to come out of nowhere in the paragraph.
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Adorno
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(Original post by Aack)
The fact is, the assessment criteria will differ according to institution. Maybe the OP should direct her attention there and get back to us.
They don't really differ that much.
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Aack
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(Original post by Adorno)
They don't really differ that much.
Well yours and mine clearly do.
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The Boosh
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(Original post by Aack)
You write it objectively.

You refrain from voicing your own opinion in the first person.

You should present arguments on both sides, using phrases such as "Some academics believe that..." and "Others may argue that....".

You need to present a balanced argument - disregard your own perspective.
There are contexts where all of this is important, but I would like to add that the nature of the dissertation topic determines the style of writing. A dissertation can be deeply personal in nature which in turn requires a first-personal position. Many academic books that are informed by an interpretivist/critical tradition have first personal passages to acknowledge the position of the author. It's common practice in some circles.

I say this as somebody who has written two dissertations, a doctoral thesis and as somebody with peer-reviewed publications in academic journals. I'm not here to argue or gloat, but just to make it clear to the OP that the nature of the dissertation topic determines the style of writing, and that your description of how to approach the writing of a dissertation is useful in some cases, but not all.

Further, there must be some personal argument in the dissertation otherwise it would be merely an impartial literature review (which is unlikely to receive a good grade). However, whether this argument is conducted it the first person or not depends on context.
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Adorno
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(Original post by Aack)
Well yours and mine clearly do.
Well, stylistic conventions in academe are really quite consistent. Whether your desire to contradict my every turn is willing to allow for that is another matter. But, of course, this isn't about you, it's about guiding the OP and others who have asked in writing strong essays which present an argument in a coherent form and thereby accessing as high a mark as possible. I've offered up my advice and critiqued that which you've given. It's up to the OP if they decide to heed your advice, mine, or neither.
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TurboCretin
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Are you not supposed to evidence independent thought in a good diss? I'm pretty sure that that is a milestone you must pass to achieve a 1st in it, at least under UCL marking criteria. How are you supposed to express independent thought in 3rd person without sounding like a pretentious weirdo?
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The Boosh
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(Original post by TurboCretin)
Are you not supposed to evidence independent thought in a good diss? I'm pretty sure that that is a milestone you must pass to achieve a 1st in it, at least under UCL marking criteria. How are you supposed to express independent thought in 3rd person without sounding like a pretentious weirdo?
It's certainly an acquired skill. I started writing in the third person as an undergraduate in History and it soon became intuitive (though my English papers were not typically in 3rd person). However, I totally agree with you regarding the need for personal argument. I honestly don't know if anybody would be offered a third without such an argument.
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Adorno
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(Original post by The Boosh)
It's certainly an acquired skill. I started writing in the third person as an undergraduate in History and it soon became intuitive (though my English papers were not typically in 3rd person).
Telling me Booshy! It has reached the stage now where the use of 'one' brings the present author out in essay-related goosepimples.
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