Use of I vs we in abstract

  • Thread starter johng23
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Use of "I" vs "we" in abstract

I'm writing an abstract for a poster which I am required to give for a fellowship. In general it is my understanding that no one would use "I" in an abstract, even if he or she were the sole author. But in this case, the purpose of the poster session is to present the work that I am doing personally as a fellow. Does that change anything? Saying "I" sounds strange, but I also feel that it should be about what I personally did, not about what my research group is doing (which I am part of).
 

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  • #2
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Posters should not have abstracts on them!
 
  • #3
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That was unclear. It's not on the poster, it's to be published in a pamphlet for the conference.
 
  • #4
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I'm writing an abstract for a poster which I am required to give for a fellowship. In general it is my understanding that no one would use "I" in an abstract, even if he or she were the sole author. But in this case, the purpose of the poster session is to present the work that I am doing personally as a fellow. Does that change anything? Saying "I" sounds strange, but I also feel that it should be about what I personally did, not about what my research group is doing (which I am part of).
Just use the passive tense and avoid any reference to "me," "we," or "I."

ETA: For example, instead of saying, "My data agree with..." say something like "Data were consistent with..." Instead of saying, "To record the data, I..." try, "Data were recorded..."
 
  • #5
Evo
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Just use the passive tense and avoid any reference to "me," "we," or "I."

ETA: For example, instead of saying, "My data agree with..." say something like "Data were consistent with..." Instead of saying, "To record the data, I..." try, "Data were recorded..."
Well, that's grammatically incorrect.

It would be "my data agrees with", "Data was consistent with" Data was recorded".

But that's just grammatical errors.

I'd wait until a mentor or SA responds so that you know that you are getting correct advice.
 
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  • #6
Andy Resnick
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I'm writing an abstract for a poster which I am required to give for a fellowship. In general it is my understanding that no one would use "I" in an abstract, even if he or she were the sole author. But in this case, the purpose of the poster session is to present the work that I am doing personally as a fellow. Does that change anything? Saying "I" sounds strange, but I also feel that it should be about what I personally did, not about what my research group is doing (which I am part of).
That's a very reasonable question- there's a lot of guidance out there:

http://abacus.bates.edu/~ganderso/biology/resources/writing/HTWgeneral.html
http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/sciences.html
http://www.scientific-writing.com/
http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/the-science-of-scientific-writing/1

But the choice of I/We (that is, singular or plural) seems to be left up to the author. If you alone did the work, by all means use 'I'- in the abstract (and yes, posters generally have an abstract on them) or in a paper.

In all honesty, the lack of formalized instruction in writing is a real detriment to a science education for many people (myself included).
 
  • #7
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Well, I already submitted it and I just took out the "I/We" like the geezer said. Ah well, it's not really a big deal. Consequence of leaving these questions until a couple hours before the deadline. I'll know better for next time.
 
  • #8
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Well, that's grammatically incorrect.

It would be "my data agrees with", "Data was consistent with" Data was recorded".

But that's just grammatical errors.

I'd wait until a mentor or SA responds so that you know that you are getting correct advice.
Data is a plural noun, not singular. It correctly takes a plural verb (e.g, "are" and "were" instead of "is" or "was").

The singular of data is datum.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/data" [Broken]
 
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  • #9
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In all honesty, the lack of formalized instruction in writing is a real detriment to a science education for many people (myself included).
Yeah, but you can always read scientific papers, conference proceedings, etc., to see exactly what an abstract entails.
 
  • #10
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Well, that's grammatically incorrect.

It would be "my data agrees with", "Data was consistent with" Data was recorded".

But that's just grammatical errors.

I'd wait until a mentor or SA responds so that you know that you are getting correct advice.
Data is plural, so it is "Data were consistent with," etc.

I've always felt that data "fit" better in the singular however. I think it can be technically considered correct either way if the "many data" is considered to be the singular object that contains all of the data.

I'm not an English major, and have always felt somewhat annoyed with all the seemingly arbitrary rules (especially commas...which have never been well-defined in my mind), but I remember a discussion on this in a required "writing" class in college.


*EDIT*
Looks like Geezer already posted this...making mental note to read entire thread before jumping onto the high horse to reply to a specific post in the future.
 
  • #11
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*EDIT*
Looks like Geezer already posted this...making mental note to read entire thread before jumping onto the high horse to reply to a specific post in the future.
No objections here. I like that you independently verified the information I posted.

I'm not an English major, and have always felt somewhat annoyed with all the seemingly arbitrary rules (especially commas...which have never been well-defined in my mind), but I remember a discussion on this in a required "writing" class in college.
Uggghhh, commas. The standard American English way of dealing with commas, especially when used with quotation marks, is ludicrous. The British English method is superior.
 

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