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Started March 19, 2012 - 01:27 PM


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Verb tense of a research paper

In general, should research papers be written in the past tense?

#2 fadedstar27 Replied March 20, 2012 - 12:27 PM


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Generally, a research paper depends on the topic at hand as to the tense of the paper. If you are talking about material that has happened in the past, then yes, it is generally in the past. However, there are topics that would switch tenses when you are referring to future trends and there you would use a future tense. If you are doing a research paper about things that are currently going on then it should be present tense. When you generally speak, a research paper has many different sections to it. One for past information as to what has led up to this and perhaps trials. Then you have current issues and future trends. Each part of the paper should reflect the information you are conveying.

#3 Guest_paulette_* Replied March 21, 2012 - 10:56 AM

FadedStar27 is absolutely right. A research paper, like any kind of writing, has to be written in the correct tense. If you wrote a research paper about Nazi Germany in the 1930s and you didn't use the past tense, all readers would be quite puzzled. It is true you would switch tenses if the topic material switched from the past to the present or to the future. It can get technically tricky, because the past is anything that happened before this instant in the present. Yesterday's news is already history.

#4 yatri Replied April 03, 2012 - 04:47 AM


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In general, research papers are written in the past tense as they are concerned with analysis already completed and evaluated. if there are references to the present or the future trends, then the appropriate tense should be utilized as needed.

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