In this series, we look at common APA Style misconceptions and debunk these myths one by one.
Many writers believe the “no first-person” myth, which is that writers cannot use first-person pronouns such as “I” or “we” in an APA Style paper. This myth implies that writers must instead refer to themselves in the third person (e.g., as “the author” or “the authors”). However, APA Style has no such rule against using first-person pronouns and actually encourages their use to avoid ambiguity in attribution!
When expressing your own views or the views of yourself and fellow authors, use the pronouns “I” or “we” and the like. Similarly, when writing your paper, use first-person pronouns when describing work you did by yourself or work you and your fellow authors did together when conducting your research. For example, use “we interviewed participants” rather than “the authors interviewed participants.” When writing an APA Style paper by yourself, use the first-person pronoun “I” to refer to yourself. And use the pronoun “we” when writing an APA Style paper with others. Here are some phrases you might use in your paper: