What tense should I use?
Use of the incorrect tense is one of the common errors a researcher makes while drafting a research paper. Since the manuscript talks about the research that has already been completed, the tense generally used should be past tense. However, this rule is not applicable to all the sections in a manuscript. While the Materials & Methods sections discussed the research process already completed and hence should be drafted in past tense, the Introduction that discusses the background information and general facts and should be drafted in present tense. In case of the Discussion and Conclusion sections, authors may use a combination of present and past tense. For instance, the outcomes and processes can be summarized in the past tense while the implications and future relevance can be described in the present tense.
To know more about the research paper writing and avoid the common errors researchers commit during the process, check out the following course available on Enago Learn: https://learn.enago.com/courses/preparing-to-write-a-research-paper. In case you are drafting your first research paper and wish to avail editing and proofreading services from professionals, do check the following link: https://www.enago.com/editing-services.htm.