In terms of the writer’s own development and learning, it’s important that they’ve made this surprising discovery.
However, in terms of accepted and established ways of academic writing, the most important thing is the fact of the similarity between the two theories not the fact that yet another undergraduate has discovered it.
To return to our analogy of the police detective: he does not say ‘I think X is guilty’ but rather ‘The evidence points to the fact that X is guilty’.
Another reason for not using ‘I’ is that once you start it’s very easy to slip into a chatty style; and once you’ve slipped into a chatty style, it’s even easier to start spouting opinions and feelings and prejudices.
Smith (1997, 13-15) even goes so far as to argue that the two models are virtually indistinguishable.
Both versions are saying the same thing: they are describing the fact that despite one theorist’s criticism of another, their theories turn out to be virtually the same.Let’s take a point from an imaginary essay and look at the two styles of writing it.Here’s the academic version: In the light of Brown’s criticisms of Jones’s theory, the most surprising thing about Brown’s own theory is its marked similarities to Jones’s.It reminds me that there’s a person behind the writing.One reason for not using ‘I’ and one reason why many tutors often dislike it is that it shows a lack of objectivity.One of the most frequently asked questions by students is ‘should I use ‘I’ in my writing? Some subjects encourage the use of ‘I’ while others actually frown on it or ‘ban’ it because it is thought to show a lack of objectivity.More confusingly, in my experience as a Royal Literary Fellow, even tutors teaching the same subject will have different views about it.Here are two more examples: The stereotyping of the colonial subject, that which is produced through surveillance, is, therefore, always threatened with lack.It depends upon an illusory relationship of consent which seems to produce ‘in the scopic space’ a relationship between observer and observed.Both versions support this discovery by referring to another theorist.The personal style version actually uses fewer words; and its note of personal discovery – ‘I was really surprised…’ – is actually quite attractive and gives the reader a sense of a living, thinking person behind the words.