Guidelines for Judging Exhibits and Scientific Papers

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[Student Area|Teacher Area|Judge Area]

The main objective of an elementary or high school research project is to foster scientific experimentation. The following are guidelines for judging and are not meant to be a checklist.

Evidence of knowledge gained

  • Is there evidence that the student has acquired scientific knowledge or scientific skills by doing this project?
  • Does the exhibitor recognize the scope and limitations of the problem selected?
  • Does the project add to scientific knowledge?

Evidence of scientific approach

  • Has a scientific approach been taken with the problem?
  • Has the exhibitor solved a problem by using known scientific facts or principles as a basis for new conclusions?

Evidence of primary experimental research

  • Has the student gathered data from experiments done by the student instead of from the results of others?
  • Has the student devised methods of carrying out work unique to the project, such as designing a special piece of apparatus or deciding on specified materials needed?
  • Is the exhibitor’s equipment effective? Does it do what it was intended to do?
  • Can the work be the basis for further experimentation?

Evidence of individual work

  • Has the material as a whole been gathered from various sources and reorganized according to the student’s own thinking and research?
  • Has the student set up a systematic plan of work and secured
  • If the student has had assistance, are those portions of the exhibit
    which represent other people’s work clearly identified?

Evidence of thoroughness

  • Is the exhibitor aware of the empirical method--of the necessity of
    repeating trials and the importance of controlling variables in
    experiments in order to reach valid conclusions?
  • Has the analysis of the problem been orderly?
  • Has the original plan been carried successfully through to completion?

Validity of information

  • Are known facts and principles stated correctly and used accurately?
  • Have results of experiments been given accurately and used accurately?
  • Is the data complete or at least based on random (rather than selected) samplings?

Validity of conclusions

  • Has the student started with known facts and evolved new experiments and drawn relevant conclusions?
  • Are the conclusions consistent with the data?

Quality of written presentation

  • Do the Research Summary and the Abstract follow the guidelines for format and length?
  • Has the exhibitor searched the literature concerning the projects by using materials which are dated 1995 or later?
  • Has the student made thorough use of accumulated data, including
    the Reference List, interviews, and correspondence?
  • Considering age and experience, does the project make use of the
    exhibitor’s abilities?
  • Does the Abstract state the purpose, procedure, and conclusion in
    a concise manner, adequately summarizing the project on paper?

Quality of visual presentation

  • Is the exhibit attractive and does it adequately present the theme of the project?
  • Has data been presented in the most explicit way for the particular
    type of information involved?

Oral presentation

  • Is the presentation lucid, articulate, and interesting?
  • Does the presentation include enough technical information to be