The model assumes such and such.
The hypothesis assumes such and such.
In scientific writing, I commonly see similar phrases indicating the construction or use of a model with an assumption. It is so common that it seems to me practically accepted, yet this guide points out that a model cannot assume anything.
It must be the writer. Similarly, the guide (see under ASSUMES) states that a hypothesis cannot assume anything, it is the author that does so.
For the model to be able to assume sounds to me to create a "personification" of the model, which is a valid literary device. While generally to be avoided, perhaps this is an acceptable style even if aiming to write well? One could plead that otherwise the sentences could become much longer and clunkier if every time we had to note that it was the authors who assumes in the use of construction of the model such and such.
Is such personification acceptable or would it be considered poor form?
Since there seem to be answers advocating both ways, perhaps this APA guideline can help us push a little deeper. It seems to say do not use anthropomorphisms in technical writing, except "when they make sense."
Remember that anthropomorphism is about whether it makes sense for that object to take that action. Theories, models, tables, data, results, etc., can take some actions that make sense for these nouns.
Theories, results, and so on, can show, present, or indicate (see APA, 2010, p. 69):
- The results showed a relationship between time spent in the intervention program and student standardized test scores.
- The table presents information on the demographics of this study.
- These data demonstrated that increasing awareness of diabetes indicators can help patients reduce their risk of being diagnosed.
- The theory indicates that societies work much like ecological systems, with different groups playing different and necessary roles in the larger system.
For me, this confuses the situation, given that whether it makes sense for that object to take that action sounds slippery. I can see how one could be very lenient or not in dispatching their judgment. For model and hypothesis, it does clearly state that these words are acceptable exceptions that "make sense." Do you have any better guidance?