Is anthropomorphism allowed in APA style?

In academic writing, anthropomorphism results in ambiguous and imprecise phrasing and thus should be avoided. Although APA style recommends avoiding anthropomorphism, it also notes that if a construction is in widespread use and its meaning is unambiguous, it does not constitute anthropomorphism.

The best approach is to familiarise yourself with acceptable phrasings by reading academic articles. For example, the phrase “the study found that …” may be anthropomorphic since the study cannot find anything, only researchers can. However, it is an acceptable phrase in academic writing.