Tense Dissertation Written

Research papers written in APA style include four major sections.  These sections include:

Title page

APA style title pages are centered horizontally and vertically.  It consists of the title of your paper, your name and institution.  For dissertations, it should also include the degree you are submitting the dissertation for, the month and the year.  The title page should be numbered the first page.  A running head should appear in the upper left-hand corner of your paper [Please note that title pages of Alliant dissertations should not include a running head. See the Formatting Manual for more information].  The running head should be typed in UPPERCASE letters and be no more than 50 characters long.  Some programs differ in their requirements for a page number and running head, so check your program's guidelines.


Running Head: HOW TO USE APA



An abstract is a brief (150 to 250 words) but thorough description of your problem, findings and summaries.  If you performed an experiment, your methodology and findings should be described.  Your abstract should be one paragraph with no indentation.


Main body

Running head and pages are still present in the main body of your dissertation.



The running head and page numbers also continue onto your reference section.  Center the word "References" and continue to use double spacing throughout this page.  References must have a hanging indent and follow the APA formatting described throughout this guide.

I am well aware of the fact that there are a number of questions that talk about tenses in research, but I still have not found exactly what I am after.

Basically my question is this, in a Master dissertation, should the tense be the same throughout the entire text? Or is it acceptable (or even required) to use different tenses in different structures?

Assuming the following structure, if you believe that there should be separate tenses, would the suggestions in brackets be correct?

  • Title (Present)
  • Abstract (Imperfect Past)
  • Introduction (Present + Future)
  • Methodology (Past Perfect, Present, Future or Mix?)
  • Results (Past Perfect)
  • Discussion (Present*)
  • Conclusion (Mix?, conditional present)

*Would the choice of any present tense put all preceding sections in a past tense?

Looking at that structure I find it hard to see that only one tense should be adopted throughout the entire text.

Sources: This, this and that.


asked Jul 4 '17 at 14:50

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