||Decide on the nature of the investigation.
- Use the listed
categories to determine your area of greatest interest.
- Consult with science
and/or mathematics teachers about the possibilities of doing research
in the area of your choice.
- Note that all
projects involving vertebrate animals (including humans) must receive
prior approval before the research begins. Prior approval is also
required for some recombinant DNA and microbiology projects. See the
“Biological Hazards” section of this site for clarification.
: For projects conducted in
university, hospital or research laboratory under the supervision of a
Doctor, Professor or Scientist, endorsement(s) and supporting documents
are due by October 15,
other endorsements must be
submitted in duplicate by November
- Be scientific.
Investigate and explore an interest--a fascination--an idea that raises
a question that would be stimulating to answer. Improve upon a previous
science fair project from a different point of view (new question).
- Decide exactly what
the question or problem is and state it clearly.
- Consult with
teachers and/or a coordinator concerning your area of interest. Be sure
that the problem chosen is within your available abilities and
- Do research. The
most important part of a research project is finding out as much as
possible about the problem. Spend some time in the library at school,
the regional library, and the main Chicago Public Library. If possible,
visit the libraries of local colleges. For information about library
sources, contact the local science fair coordinator and the school
librarian. Some libraries may be closed to the general public, but many
will allow you to use their collection on the premises.
- Formulate a
hypothesis* for testing. Design experiments to test the hypothesis.
- Find ways to
measure, observe, and record what happens in each aspect of the
project. Remember that every experiment must have a control.**
- Do not abandon
negative results. Use them to modify the hypothesis; then test again.
Set time schedules.
- Remember that
constant evaluation of the research takes place from the first step to
the final conclusion.
projects are the result of careful work, careful planning, and constant
revision as data accumulate.
An assumption used as the basis for action; a calculated guess subject
to verification or proof from which conclusions may be drawn.
Formulating and testing a hypothesis in mathematics is not as common a
method of investigation as in other categories.
**control: A method to test or verify a scientific experiment by
conducting a parallel experiment or by using other standards of