Scientific Language: Tense and Certainty

The tense of verbs will vary in the results stage, generally between the simple present and simple past. The commonest tense found in the results is the simple past. Simple present is used to refer to what figures and tables show and to make generalisations about the results. However, you need to be careful about what generalisations to make, as these are more appropriate in the discussion section. The verb may also vary in degrees of certainty, e.g. ‘may’, ‘can’, ‘could’ etc. be found.

Notice the way the verbs change in different parts of the results section.

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