Verb tense in academic writing

Here are some starting points on verb tense.
Of course verb tense use varies from style guide to style guide (APA, Chicago, MLA), from field to field, and from journal to journal.
If you are targeting a journal, it’s best to download a few published papers from the journal that are near your topic and/or near your study type, and look at tense use.

GRIPS students, your first step should be to search ‘tense’ in the e-book version of Professor Petchko’s excellent recent textbook, How to Write about Economics and Public Policy, available to students from the ebook section of GRIPS Library.

Examine practice (in model papers, target journal papers, your paper)

-In a given section of a paper, how much is the passive voice used?

-What tense is used for talking about:

– the actions performed in the studies of others? (Smith (2029) measured/ measures….)

– things reported in the papers of others? (Smith (2029) reports/reported that….)

– the actions you performed in your own study? (Hunter (2029) measured/ measures….)

– the things reported in your paper? (Hunter (2029) reports/reported that….)

-what can be seen in the data (or a graph or table)?

-what can be deduced/inferred from a graph or a table or analysis of the data?

-what can be generalized/ induced from a graph or a table or analysis of the data?

Related: Are any casual verbs used (e.g. two-word verbs (a.k.a. phrasal verbs) like ‘look into’ and ‘think over’ [in FAE ‘investigate’ and ‘consider’]?

Based on 20 learning activities using model papers
which is section IV. of


APA style guide on verb Tense

What tense should I use? – Literature Review Guide – Subject & Study Guides at AIT Library

The use of tenses in a literature review | Editage Insights


Signal and Lead-in Phrases // Purdue Writing Lab