When writing a journal paper, we are expected to write in third person. But when I present some assumptions of other researchers and then want to say that I disagree with that and then present my own hypothesis, how do I write it?

Artificial neural networks store neural weights, which are a generalized way of memorizing and abstracting training data, similar to the neurons of the human brain.
I disagree with that because I theorize that memories are not stored in the neurons. I don't have any evidence, but can provide my theories about how memory storage actually works.

But I can't start writing it as "My hypothesis is that...", because it isn't in third person. What is the right way to write it?

  • "When writing a journal paper, we are expected to write in third person" says who? I only know the plural form, even for single authors.
    – Mark
    Jan 14, 2020 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


You don't need to drop out of the normal first-person-plural way of academic writing. You can write something like:

Bob e.a. [1] theorize that (something you disagree with), but we are skeptical because (reasons you disagree). In this paper we offer an alternative hypothesis (your own ideas) and propose experiments to support it.

It doesn't matter whether you're a single person writing the paper or a team, you use the "academic we". That's just the convention.

  • But you are switching to the first person, plural in this case!
    – TimRias
    Jan 14, 2020 at 14:54
  • @mmeent you're right, I'll fix the answer
    – ObscureOwl
    Jan 14, 2020 at 15:58

You need not go to first person to convey this idea. How about: Alternatively, it may be the case that ... [your alternative goes here]. Just be sure that your theories are testable, lest they become conjecture. Then test your theories.

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