Criminal Justice Scholar: Using Third Person Voice

All formal criminal justice academic writing should be in the third person voice. The third person voice gives the writer the ability to demonstrate objectivity rather relying on than personal thoughts and experience. When the writer stays objective, it adds credibility, integrity, and is less bias. Using the third person voice allows the writer to focus on available facts rather than their personal thoughts, which many times are unsupported opinions. Within the criminal justice discipline, the writer is required to draw on a range of acceptable and credible scholarly sources to support claims, arguments, and ideas with the paper.

Within the criminal justice academic discipline there are four main types of academic writing. These four main types of academic writing are descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. Depending on the topic being explored by the writer, many times a combination of the four main types of academic writing are used within a paper; however, the third person voice is used throughout the paper.

Avoid using first-person pronouns in your academic writing such as I, me, my, mine, myself, we, us, our, or ours. The problem with using the first-person pronouns is their subject nature, which relays to the reader that your work is based on your personal opinions rather that the published scholarly evidence. The third person voice identifies people by the proper noun. An example of using third person in an academic paper: Bond (2022) stated that formal criminal justice writing should use the third person voice throughout the paper.

Maintaining consistency by using the third person voice throughout the paper is critical to enhancing your academic writing skills.  


About the Author:

Mark Bond worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms trainer for more than 30 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state, and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in Criminal Justice, and M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with Summa Cum Laude Honors. Mark has a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) with a concentration in college teaching and learning. Mark is currently an associate professor of human justice at a university and has been teaching in the classroom and online for 22 years.