I'm currently in the process of revising my graduate thesis in Computer Science. One section of the thesis specifically addresses design decisions I made and changes I made based on test results. In this section I describe the actions I took in a first-person active voice.
In this chapter I present a cognitive walkthrough of the interface based on the criteria Polson et al. originally presented. I also took further direction from suggestions for performing cognitive walkthoughs which the same authors later presented in the form of a practitioner's guide(citation).
My faculty adviser has approved my draft, but one of my committee members said that he doesn't think personal pronouns should be used in technical writing. There are some cases where I can easily eliminate the personal pronouns and maintain an active voice (e.g. the first sentence in my example.) However, there are cases where I can't see how to do so without reverting to a passive voice.
Is it really bad form to use personal pronouns in technical writing? I have seen it quite often in conference papers. What alternatives do I have if I want to maintain the active voice? Is it better to use the passive voice than use personal pronouns?
I'm particularly confused because my technical writing instructor taught me that one should always describe the author as doing or presenting something rather than the paper.