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Can I use 'I' in my essays?

In academic writing, you should avoid using the first person and always try to write in the third person. For example, rather than stating:

(1) I think this method is the most successful because Jones (2005) found that it was well received.

Instead, write:

(2) It could be argued that this method is the most successful because Jones (2005) found that it was well received.

It should be noted that the first person can be used in academic writing when you are reflecting on your own experience. However, this is usually the only exception. If you are in any doubt, please ask your tutor.