1 – Literature Search: Internet, Library
Research what has been done and what is known about your subject, both in general and specifically.
2 – Prepare a plan: detail what you want to do and how
3 – Obtain approvals when needed (SRC/IRB – see these sections for specifics)
4 – Discuss with teachers/parents and determine the number of trials/samples/datum points your project will require to make a significant outcome. Statistical analysis is important and will allow you do have a sound science project. Sometimes this may require consultation and advice from a statistician or mathematician.
5 - Perform your research and collect data (all entries go into a Lab Book or Journal)
6 – Analyze Data, Prepare charts, grafts, photographs, etc.
7 – Draw Conclusions and discuss limitations
8 – Prepare the Project Board: This is the organization of your research or engineering project into written communication. The project board will explain what you did, how you collected data, give representation of that data in graphical or other form, your conclusions. The board should include your bibliography and your abstract*.
The information/material you put on that board, and possibly some devices or models contained within your project space, must convey your entire project.
K-8th Grades: this is what the judges will evaluate.
HS: The project board in addition to the interview will be included in judging.
Safety is always key in doing science! Talk to specialists in your area to make sure you are doing everything possible to assure that you and everyone around you is safe. For example, if you are sampling micro-organisms from various places and incubating them in a Petri dish, those dishes must be incubated under controlled access at the school, they cannot be done at home where harmful organisms could be released into the environment. Or, if you are interested in doing a project involving fire, discussed it with your local firefighter.
Kindergarten students should be learning how to find averages and how to plot data. Help is expected, but the student should be the one doing the work. Class projects should also involve the students doing as much of the actual work as possible.
*Abstract: This is a summary of the whole project (in 250 words or less). It includes the goal or why it is important, the methods, the results, and most importantly the conclusions. You may want to include a sentence at the end about what you would like to do to continue this project in the future.
**Note to High School Students: IF you are printing your project on a single sheet format, keep your abstract separate and attach next to your board. At ISEF, it cannot be on the single page layout.