Breaking Research Norms: Embracing First Person

In the world of academia, researchers are expected to maintain a certain level of objectivity and detachment from their work. This has led to a long-standing tradition in which first-person language is discouraged, if not outright prohibited. However, recent years have seen an increasing number of scholars who are questioning this norm and advocating for more personal writing styles that allow them to express their own perspectives and experiences. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this shift towards embracing the use of first person in research writing and discuss how it can benefit both individual researchers as well as the wider field at large.

Table of Contents

1. The Power of First Person Perspective in Research

Researchers have long relied on objective data and analysis to guide their work. However, first-person perspective can be a valuable tool for understanding the intricacies of human experience that cannot always be captured from quantitative data alone.

  • Gaining empathy: By immersing themselves in the experiences they are studying through first-person accounts or personal observation, researchers can gain greater insight into the perspectives of those they study. This approach allows them to better understand and empathize with their subjects’ feelings and reactions.
  • Fostering trust: Researchers who engage personally with their subjects often build stronger relationships of trust than those who simply collect information through surveys or other impersonal methods. These connections allow participants to feel more comfortable being honest and open about sensitive topics, leading to richer insights for researchers.

Incorporating first-person perspective does not necessarily mean abandoning established research methods; rather it is an opportunity to augment these approaches by adding nuance and depth beyond quantifiable data points. As such, incorporating this lens has benefits both for researchers seeking new angles on familiar topics as well as those looking at previously unexplored areas where standard metrics may be insufficient.

  • Creating relatable findings: The use of firsthand accounts creates insights that resonate emotionally with readers – it makes abstract concepts concrete by connecting readers directly with someone else’s experience. This engagement fosters curiosity but also helps people see issues from different angles which fuels learning opportunities amongst communities too!
  • Diversifying Research Perspective:This technique encourages diversity among research groups because various individuals bring unique perspectives based on bias created from demographics like race/gender/age/national origin reflecting upon how each sees society differently depending largely upon life experiences shared therein (or contrasting against).

2. Shifting the Paradigm: Breaking Away from Traditional Norms

Breaking away from traditional norms is a bold step that requires courage and determination. However, the rewards of taking such a step cannot be overemphasized. It involves challenging old beliefs and behaviors to create new ones that better align with current realities.

  • New ideas: Shifting paradigms entail creating new models or approaches to solving problems. This could mean redefining business processes, changing corporate structures, or adopting sustainable practices in our daily lives.
  • Critical thinking: Breaking away from traditional norms also means questioning long-held assumptions about how things should be done. Critical thinking enables us to challenge the status quo and identify alternative solutions for achieving desired outcomes.

The journey towards shifting paradigms may seem daunting at first but it is doable with an open mind and willingness to learn. Here are some practical tips on breaking away from traditional norms:

  • Educate yourself: As with any significant change, educating oneself on the subject matter is essential before taking action. Read widely; seek out perspectives different than your own and engage in dialogue around them.
  • Risk-taking: Taking risks allows you to move outside of your comfort zone into unchartered territories where creativity thrives enabling paradigm shifts.

3. Embracing Subjectivity for a Deeper Understanding

Subjectivity, or the individual’s personal perspective on a given topic, can often be viewed as a hindrance to clear understanding and objective analysis. However, embracing subjectivity can actually lead to a deeper comprehension and appreciation of complex issues.

One way to embrace subjectivity is by acknowledging and exploring one’s biases and assumptions regarding the topic at hand. By recognizing how our own experiences and beliefs shape our perception of reality, we can better understand why others may have differing viewpoints. This self-reflection allows for more empathetic communication with those who hold opposing views, creating space for constructive dialogue rather than unproductive arguments. Additionally, delving into each person’s unique context leads to a broader consideration of different factors that influence interpretations – whether cultural background or even current emotional state – which further enhances insights gained from conversations with people holding alternative opinions.

In conclusion, when we open ourselves up to subjective perspectives in discussions about challenging topics, it helps us appreciate multiple valid points of view while also expanding our outlooks beyond preconceived notions or culturally ingrained dogmas that might blind us from realizing new possibilities; this results in greater empathy towards diverse groups which ultimately promotes harmony between people from all walks-of-life regardless their differences in lifestyle choices/beliefs/ideologies etc..

4. From Distance to Empathy: A New Path in Research Methodology

One of the biggest challenges in research is to bridge the gap between researcher and subject. Researchers often maintain a distance from subjects to avoid getting attached emotionally, which can compromise objectivity but at the same time can hinder an understanding of the human experience.

  • In recent years, there has been a shift towards using empathy as a tool for research rather than detachment.
  • This method involves researchers immersing themselves into their experimental population’s world through direct interaction with them or by living among them temporarily.

The objective is not only to collect data but also experience life as it happens and understand how people feel about various phenomena. This approach helps researchers gain insights that would be impossible otherwise and develop more empathetic solutions tailored to individual needs.


Q: What is the breaking research norm?

A: The breaking research norm refers to a trend of embracing first-person language in academic writing. Typically, scientific and academic papers are written in third person and avoid personal pronouns, like “I” or “we.” However, some researchers have been challenging this convention by incorporating their own experiences into their work.

Q: Why is this happening now?

A: There are several reasons why scholars are embracing first-person language. For one thing, it allows them to connect with readers on a more personal level and share insights that might not be present otherwise. Additionally, using first-person can help break down institutional barriers and encourage collaboration between colleagues from different backgrounds.

Q: Are there any risks associated with breaking research norms?

A: While there’s no inherent risk to using first-person language in your writing per se, doing so does come with certain challenges. For instance, you’ll need to balance your personalized observations against objective data to ensure that your conclusions remain sound. You may also encounter resistance from peers who view departing from traditional conventions as unprofessional or inappropriate.

Q: Can you give an example of when someone has broken the mold successfully?

A: Sure! Dr. Brené Brown is perhaps one of the most well-known examples of a researcher who isn’t afraid to get personal in her work. In her book Daring Greatly (2012), she talks about her struggles with shame and vulnerability while also weaving together relevant studies on these topics.

Q: How do I know if I should embrace first person for my own work?

A: Ultimately, whether or not you use personalized language in your writing will depend on what feels most authentic for you as an author—and what works best for communicating information effectively to readers within your field of study. It’s always important to approach any changes thoughtfully and weigh both potential benefits and drawbacks before making significant departures from established practices.

In summary- Breaking research norms refer “to” introducing First Person Narrative into Academic Writing wherein writers personalize their content through experiential narratives adding value beyond empirical data.The shift towards FP Narratives better connects authors’ findings/insights/empathy-building stories while transcending traditional generic academics via introspective/personal discoveries & viewpoints.It stands at par academically but involves balancing subjective views objectively.Resistance could arise initially due peer’s criticism.We must consider our niche audience/field specific requirements before taking such experimentative leaps forward.Like they say-“Don’t knock it till ya try it”.

As the scientific community continues to evolve, so do its standards and norms. While it may have once been taboo to use first person in research writing, a growing number of scientists are embracing this approach as a way to inject more personality into their work. By incorporating personal experiences and perspectives, researchers can provide readers with valuable insights that go beyond what’s strictly “objective.” At the same time, however, care must be taken not to let subjectivity cloud one’s conclusions or undermine the rigor of one’s methods. Only by striking this balance can we hope to continue pushing forward our understanding of the world around us – all while keeping our humanity front and center.

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