Here are links to three open access articles so you can see how the authors use and shift tense in their Introduction Sections.

Kniss AR, Savage SD, Jabbour R (2016) Commercial Crop Yields Reveal Strengths and Weaknesses for Organic Agriculture in the United States. PLoS ONE 11(8): e0161673. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161673

Notice how the authors use mainly present tense: they are clearly confident that the findings they are reporting are beyond dispute. There are also three instances of simple past tense and five of present perfect tense.The clauses from the first three paragraphs of the Introduction Section are listed in the table below. Notice also that the authors have only referred to the authors of one study directly (“Seufert et al.”) and that this coincides with the only three uses of simple past tense in these three paragraphs. As a result, the text flows well and it is easy to grasp the main points they are making.

 

Simple present tenseSimple past tensePresent perfect tense
advantages … includeSeufert et al. [8] reportedhas increased steadily
research … is limitedstudies were partitionedhave been theorized
meta-analyses reportperennials had morehas consistently been
critics … argue have repeatedly demonstrated
society cannot justify have not been clearly linked
farmers can match  
yield/conservation tradeoff is likely  
yield differences … vary  

Zhang N, McHale LK, Finer JJ (2016) A Leader Intron of a Soybean Elongation Factor 1A (eEF1A) Gene Interacts with Proximal Promoter Elements to Regulate Gene Expression in Synthetic Promoters. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0166074. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166074.

Notice how the authors use mainly present tense: they are clearly confident that the findings they are reporting are beyond dispute. There is also one instance of simple past tense and two of present perfect tense in the first four paragraphs of the Introduction Section. The clauses are listed in the table below. Notice also that the authors have not referred to any authors directly. As a result, the text flows well and it is easy (if you understand the jargon) to grasp the main points they are making.

 

Simple present tenseSimple past tensePresent perfect tense
are constitutively expressedintron was usedhas not been reported
proteins are active effort has been placed
catalyzing the binding  
proteins are multifunctional  
interact with  
to organize the  
eEF1As enhance tolerance  
genes contain one  
genes exhibit  
introns can either  
introns can also  
introns … can significantly enhance  
the magnitude … is usually  
introns can enhance  
splicing signals can influence  
an intron affects  

Cho YY, Sidorenkov G, Denig P (2016) Role of Patient and Practice Characteristics in Variance of Treatment Quality in Type 2 Diabetes between General Practices. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0166012. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166012.

Notice how the authors use mainly present tense: they are clearly confident that the findings they are reporting are beyond dispute. There are also four instances of simple past tense and two of present perfect tense. The clauses are listed in the table below. Notice also that the authors have not referred to any authors directly, and only specifically to one study (“a recent review”). As a result, the text flows well and it is easy (if you understand the jargon) to grasp the main points they are making.

 

Simple present tenseSimple past tensePresent perfect tense
recommendations … are linkedprescribing … ranged fromhave been introduced
measures assessprescribing … ranged fromhave been found to influence
care is delivereda recent review concluded 
variation … is commonno … patterns were observed 
differences … may be attributed  
it is to be expected  
decisions are influenced  
patients … commonly have  
characteristics … affect  
research indicates that  
characteristics … can all influence  
this may reflect  
regimens are considered  
treatment is prescribed  
variance may also be  
when there are  
when patients are reluctant  
variance can be  
when prescription rates … differ  
habits can influence  
physicians may differ  
factors may contribute  
accounting … is important  
the aim of this study is to describe  
and identify patient  

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