There are several ways in which you can create the presence of an authorial persona which represents your own position on an issue:
- 'Problematising' the issue, so that you identify the problem and lay out the various approaches or positions, will allow you then to place your own viewpoint. If an issue is presented too much as a straightforward matter of fact, then your writing will appear descriptive and fail to do justice to the complexity of the issue. It will not be clear that there is even a stance to be taken, let alone what your position actually is.
- A clear thesis statement or assertion of your point will help to assert your status as an author. Thesis statements can represent your overall argument, or the point you make in a single paragraph, but should be positioned as early as possible to have maximum impact on the reader.
- Using reporting words that indicate viewpoints rather than facts indicates the presence of a debate in which you will position yourself against or alongside other authors: 'claims' 'asserts' 'argues' 'contends' 'suggests' etc., rather than 'states' or 'says'. Make sure that you do comment critically on the views of these other scholars, clarifying your own position on what they say, rather than simply reporting them.
- Introduce your own authorial persona, and those of other authors, into your writing explicitly. You can refer to yourself in the first person 'I' to make your presence in the text explicit. Likewise, refering to other scholars by name brings them into a dialogue with you, helping to define your position more clearly (see above point about the need for critical comment). You do not have to use the first person to indicate your presence in your text, but it can be effective in reinforcing your approach if used sparingly. The first person should not be over-used, and may in some cases detract from other qualities such as the need to appear objective and rational. See the section on Objective and rational for more guidance.