Using I/we/passive in a Bachelor’s thesis

No easy answer, but I liked here the joke “In your particular case, an inclusive we could be used to recognize the nematodes collaboration :) – Dr. belisarius May 10 ‘11 at 13:01”

  • I asked another young professor whether one could use “I” and she said “Only if you want to sound like an arrogant bastard”, and observed that only old people with established reputations can get away with it.

  • The passive voice should not be used to avoid writing I or we. If the entire thesis is written in the passive voice, it is much harder to read, and the sentences within it1 have to be reworded awkwardly so that some good transitions between the sentences within a paragraph are lost. On the other hand, if some sentences seem to require the passive voice, by all means those sentences should be written in the passive voice. But the passive voice should only be used where it is justified, that is, where its use improves readability of the thesis.

TL;DR use “we”, don’t use passive unless needed; don’t use “I” ever.

Also in Germany it’s bachelor’s thesis, apparently.

Bachelor’s thesis tenses

This is also really nice:

Past tense

Work done

We collected blood samples from . . . Consequently, astronomers decided to rename . . .

Work reported

Jankowsky reported a similar growth rate . . . In 2009, Chu published an alternative method to . . .


The mice in Group A developed, on average, twice as much . . . The conversion rate was close to 95% . . .

Present tense

General truths

Microbes in the human gut have a profound influence on . . . The Reynolds number provides a measure of . . .

Atemporal facts

This paper presents the results of . . . Section 3.1 explains the difference between . . . Behbood’s 1969 paper provides a framework for . . .

Future tense


In a follow-up experiment, we will study the role of . . . The influence of temperature will be the object of future research . . .

(As linked in the answer, taken from Effective Writing | Learn Science at Scitable.


qutebrowser yanking URLs and markdown

This is amazing. ym yanks the URL with the title, like this: word choice - Bachelor thesis or Bachelor’s thesis - English Language & Usage Stack Exchange.

qutebrowser passthrough mode

<C-v> enters passthrough mode, <Shift+Escape> to exit. It works very well with Jupyter-vim.

Thesis vim marks

m means what it always means, n is the place I’ve been working at the last time, d is the end of the thesis.