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Even in scientific writing, too much use of passive voice can cloud the meaning of your sentences.
According to scholars, the general opinion is that the passive voice makes writing flat and insinuates evasion of responsibility in writing of any form, not just scientific writing.
century when the trend of objectivity became favored.
Until recently, this tone was considered favorable for scientific writing and authors were advised to strictly avoid using the active voice, especially the use of “I” and “we” in their academic research papers.
Compare “In this study, we investigated the effect of drug X on the serum levels of phosphorus under various conditions” with “In this study, the effect of drug X on the serum levels of phosphorus was investigated under various conditions.”However, nowadays, many authorities are going against this traditional notion and encouraging the use of the active voice, with the view that academic papers should be easy to read and understand.
On the other hand, in the passive voice, the action being performed is emphasized, and the doer may be omitted, e.g., “The tobacco-infused aerosol was inhaled (by the mice).” In this construction, “by the mice” can be omitted, which means that the reader already knows or does not need to know who the doer is; only the action is important.
The passive voice lends an impersonal tone, which is perceived to be formal, but can make the text more wordy and difficult to understand, especially when used in long sentences.
Three test environments were selected for our experiments: a law office, a laboratory in which experiments were performed using laboratory rats, and an automobile assembly line.
One-way mirrored glass panels were installed to allow video cameras to record the activity, and researchers to observe the same and take notes.
It gives examples of both, and shows how to turn a passive sentence into an active one.
Also, it explains how to decide when to choose passive voice instead of active.