An all-out active writing style would be just as difficult to read as an all-out passive style: balancing the two perspectives is key.
Other than to add variety, when is the passive voice the better choice? The passive voice is preferable if the performer cannot easily be named or if the performer is irrelevant to the discussion, as in the following examples: Up to 90% of the energy in light bulbs is wasted in the form of heat.
In the first sentence, the author's attempts to name the performer would be awkward; in the second sentence, the author assumes the reader will not be interested in the name of the publisher; and in the third sentence, the performer (researchers) is obvious.
When naming the performer would prove difficult or unnecessary, the passive voice works well.
This section provides recommendations of books in scientific writing and efficient publishing.
This list of medical writing resources is updated as new resources become available or I become aware of them. National Institutes of Health – NIH Re PORTER, CSR Applicant Resources, and a presentation on NIH Peer Review.
If a link is no longer working or something is missing, I’d be happy to update the list. Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (acehp.org) American Medical Writers Association (amwa.org) Board Editors in the Life Sciences (bels.org) Council of Science Editors (councilscienceeditors.org) Drug Information Association (diahome.org) European Medical Writers Association (emwa.org) International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ismpp.org) National Organization of Research Development Professionals (nordp.org) Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (raps.org) AMWA-EMWA-ISMPP Joint Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers COPE Guidelines – publication ethics guidelines including authorship, peer review, and retractions EQUATOR Network – data reporting guidelines, summarized by study type FDA reprint guidelines – distribution of medical publications on unapproved uses GPP3 – publication guidelines for company sponsored research ICH Guidelines – international guidelines for pharmaceutical regulatory documents ICMJE Recommendations – authorship, editing, publishing, and peer review guidelines National Guideline Clearinghouse – compilation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines at AHRQ Ph RMA Principles – guidelines for conducting clinical trials and communicating results Greene AE. SACME Resources – ethics guidelines, toolkits, and information on gap analysis among other topics CME Educational Resource Library – instructional design, regulations, and more from Jacob Coverstone AMWA members can access my webinar “Publish that Paper Now: Successfully prepare manuscripts that get published” and a Pocket Training “How to Find the Best Journal for Your Scientific Manuscript.” Any medical writing resources that should be added to the list?
This revision shortens the sentence and identifies the performers.
However, the original passive style creates parallel structure by repeating the topic of the second sentence ("This structure has...") in the third sentence ("A structure for...").