If you have multiple authors writing an article, what is the best use of perspective when recounting experiences from different views?

For example, I am writing an article with a colleague about our experience starting an organization. When recounting individual experiences, it seems best to use third person (Tom felt this way). However, when recounting shared experiences, it seems best to use first person plural (we did this together).

These feel like the best approaches, though there is some friction. The friction is especially apparent when an individual experiences leads into a shared experience (Tom discovered he wasn't the only one; that is when we met and started working on this concept).

Are there best practices or standard methodologies that address these types of situations?


4 Answers 4


In many scholarly texts, including scientific papers, the solution I have seen is to use the expression "one of us", with or without the person's name (it is not always important for the reader to know which one of the authors had a certain experience or did something. Example: One of us (Smith) had a patient who...


You may consider using 'the authors' to represent the two of you in the third person. I have often seen this in more formal papers.

Using your examples from above:

Tom discovered he wasn't the only one; that is when the authors met and started working on this concept.


Tom felt this way[, and so] the authors did this together.


Read a couple of academic journals as they are peer reviewed. The aim is to communicate to the reader new knowledge that flows and I've interpret your questions as multiple authors and multiple participants. Your academic references should be second and third person for example, Bourke et al (2008, p.67), suggest.... third person. That's my sort of understanding, approach and two cents worth, off the top of my head.

With referencing yourself, first person is probably preferred while team members will be second and third person.


I have seen both used. It does depend on the topic. Most academic articles I have read use the third person because the researcher isn't actually the topic. More popular texts tend to use first person more often.

If you do use first person, make it clear who is talking. I recently read a book where the authors kept changing, but it wasn't clear who it was until the other person's name was used.

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