What is anthropomorphism?
Anthropomorphism refers to giving human characteristics to a nonliving object or animal.
Why should I avoid anthropomorphism?
In academic writing, it is best to avoid using anthropomorphism because it causes sentences to be unclear and imprecise. Because academic writing should be clear and direct, you want to avoid any phrasing that is not precise. To make sure your sentences are precise, be sure that the subject of your sentence is capable of performing the action of the verb.
What does anthropomorphism look like?
Anthropomorphism can show up differently in your writing. To see variations, see the examples below:
Incorrect: The article from Lassitter and Jones (2009) discussed how coffee wakes you up in the morning.
Correct: Lassitter and Jones (2009) discussed how coffee wakes you up in the morning.
Incorrect: This experiment attempted to investigate how students learn APA style (Wheatley, 2016).
Correct: Wheatley (2016) attempted to investigate how students learn APA style.
Incorrect: A review of the literature concluded that there is a gap in the research on this topic (Fraenza, 2016).
Correct: Fraenza (2016) concluded that there is a gap in the research on this topic.
How do I avoid anthropomorphism?
When discussing research, focus on the authors or writers and state what they did, concluded, said, or found. Do not use their results, article, or analysis as the subject of the sentence.
*The examples on this page have APA-formatted citations.