From what perspective should I be writing?


The perspective of your writing generally refers to the 'person' in which you write. Unless you are instructed otherwise, you will usually write your essays in the third person, or at an 'academic distance' rather than in the first or second person. For example, you may write:


Example 1
Example 2
"A review of film and record industry activities, in the late 1950's, suggests that the rise of youth culture was driven by company profit motives."
Rather than:
"I think that increasing company profits in the film and recording industry, in the early 1950's, had a lot to do with the rise of youth culture."


Academic writing rarely requires you to write in the first person, using "I", "me", or "our". Exceptions may occur when you are asked to relate events or statements to your own experiences of life and provide a personal opinion.


Example 1 (above) is more precise and definite in its tone than Example 2, stating apparent facts based on a 'review', rather than a 'thought'. This is an important distinction because stated facts require the support of valid and reliable evidence, usually gained from studying the literature on your subject. The use of evidence is a crucial element in academic writing. Proper use of evidence can reflect a high level of scholarship; improper use of evidence can reflect poorly on your academic integrity.