Science Writing – Voice

Science Writing – Voice

Writing for science is a form of technical writing, which is very different than narrative writing that you do for most of your other classes.  Voice should be clear and concise.  This means that you should use good descriptions with both qualitative and quantitative data and use appropriate scientific vocabulary, but you should avoid flowery or creative language.

Personal pronouns are not normally included in good science writing, unless you are giving your personal opinion or personal life experience.

Here is a chart of pronouns and their use in science writing:

Singular Plural Use in Science
1st person I, me, my, mine We, our, ours Personal opinions
2nd person You, your, Yours You, your, yours Procedures, directions
3rd person He, she, it, his, hers, its They, them, their, theirs Most science writing

So, for most assignments, if  possible, write in third person (he, she, it, they).

Avoid using I, we, me, our, you, yours, us, mine, etc. (1st person). The exception to this rule is when you are giving your personal opinion and want to make sure your reader knows this is your opinion or when including your own personal life experiences.

Example: You are to make a claim about the color of the class room walls.  Which is better science writing?

a. I claim that the science classroom walls are beige.

b. The science classroom has beige walls.

Use “you” (2ndperson) when giving directions, example – writing procedures – although the pronoun is understood and is usually not stated.

Example: Which is better science writing?

a. Measure 30 g of NaCl and place it in the beaker.

b. You measure 30 g of NaCl and you place it in the beaker.