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Literature reviews in present or past tense?

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Old   May 1, 2009, 04:10
Default Literature reviews in present or past tense?
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Hi,

I have this confusion about literature reviews in papers. Should they be writtenin present or past tense? or mixed?

Can someone shed some light?

Thanks!
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Old   May 1, 2009, 08:16
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Past tense..it has already been done. Your technical paper should be past tense as well, since, I am assuming your experiments have already been run and data gathered. You might have a section at the end of the paper, FUTURE WORK, where you can use future tense. Also, you have to be sure not to give away too much information in a literature review. It is basically just a paragraph summary of what was going on in the paper, and it should be related to your work. The author's of the papers you are citing would be happy to know that you didn't give away enough info so that no one would have to read their paper.

Last edited by mettler; May 1, 2009 at 14:04.
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Old   May 2, 2009, 05:01
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Thanks mettle. However what about some theories which the author discovered?

For eg., "He discovered that air is/was very light"

Should I use "is" or "was"?

TIA!
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Old   May 4, 2009, 08:15
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The air IS still very light, but he discoverED it. Unless it was only for his experiment in which the air was light.."He discovered that during low humidity the air WAS very light."
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Old   May 4, 2009, 10:37
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Thanks again for the clarification mettler!
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