Scientific Language: Verbs

In your report verb tenses will vary according to the kind of information in the sentence and the stage of the introduction you are writing. Simple present is often used to make generalisations about research findings, while simple past is used to describe specific studies or actions related to these studies which occurred at a particular time in the past. Examples of these tenses are shown below:

Simple present Initial testing indicates that....
Simple past Initial testing indicated that....

Verbs will also vary according to how certain you are or how usual something is. When you summarise previous research about your topic, as well as summarising the factual findings, you are also summarising the claims and judgements of other scientists. These scientists were usually cautious about making these claims and judgements and you need to be tentative as well when you summarise the information relevant to your experiment. One way you can do this is by using the modal system of the verb. Other ways involve using adjectives or adverbs of usuality and certainty like possible or possibly. Examples of these constructions are shown below:

Modal verb This effect may result from...
Modal verb This effect can result from...
Adverb with verb This effect possibly results from...
Adjective with verb It is possible that this effect results from...
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