What tense should I use?
What tense should I used while drafting the materials and methods section of my manuscript?
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.
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