n Journal of Public Administration - The public administration researcher : either absent or unscientific?

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Various institutions of higher education, as well as editorial boards of scientific journals, advise prospective authors to avoid the first person. In this article we argue against the uncritical avoidance of the first person and try to analyse the reasons why such weak style is prescribed. We show that the avoidance of the first person is probably motivated by an outdated positivism, that the avoidance of the first person is not necessary for objectivity, and that the avoidance of the first person may be based on conceptual confusion. Scientists are persons, and persons are subjects. Objectivity lies in the methods applied by researchers. The strength of some of the qualitative research methods is their ability to utilise the researcher's subjectivity in the process of gaining objective and rational knowledge. No reason could be found to believe that an impersonal writing style promotes objectivity. Using the first person means accepting responsibility for what you write.

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