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How can I use my own personal experiences as a reference in my research paper?

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2016  |  26252 Views
Topics: APA

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Thank you for your question about referencing yourself in a paper.

It is very tempting to want to use things that we know based on our own personal experiences in a research paper. However, unless we are considered to be recognized experts on the subject, it is unwise to use our personal experiences as evidence in a research paper. It is better to find outside evidence to support what we know to be true or have personally experienced.

If it is not possible to find outside evidence, then you will have to construct your paper in such a way as to show your reader that you are an expert on the topic. You would need to lay out your credentials for the reader so that the reader will be able to trust the undocumented evidence that you are providing. This can be risky and is not recommended for research based papers. But even if you do use your own experiences, you would not add yourself to your References page.

Sometimes you will be assigned to write a paper that is based on your experiences or on your reaction to a piece of writing, in these instances it would be appropriate to write about yourself and your personal knowledge. However, you would still never cite yourself as a source on your References page. 

If you need some assistance finding research to help support your theories, please contact your Campus Librarians. If you need assistance with APA citations, visit the APA Help guide.  Thank you for using ASK US.

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