Answered By: Jonathan Faerber
Last Updated: Dec 18, 2019     Views: 7505

APA 6th Edition 

As per the American Psychological Association (2010), "use the past tense to express an action or a condition that occurred at a specific, definite time in the past, as when discussing another researcher's work and when reporting your results" (p. 78). For example, "Sanchez (2000) presented similar results" (correct) versus "Sanchez (2000) presents similar results" (incorrect) (p. 78).

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

APA 7th Edition

The use of present tense in APA Style is often appropriate for first-person expressions of your own idea ("In this paper, I argue...") or phrases describing a current event, rather than introductions to paraphrased or quoted text. As per the American Psychological Association (2020), "the past tense is appropriate when expressing an action or a condition that occurred at a specific, definite time in the past, such as discussing another researcher's work" (p. 118). In some cases, such as when paraphrasing information from several published results over an extended period of time ("From 2001 to today, the consensus has been that"), present perfect tense may be appropriate. Some examples of appropriate past tense signal phrases are: 

  • Smith et al. (2017) found that ...
  • Lee (2019) discovered ...
  • The study implemented ... (Grewal, 2015)

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000