science fair research paper

For a science fair project, a reference citation (also known as author-date citation) is an accepted way to reference information you copy. Citation referencing is easy. Simply put the author’s last name, the year of publication, and page number (if needed) in parentheses after the information you copy. Place the reference citation at the end of the sentence but before the final period.

When you write your research paper you might want to copy words, pictures, diagrams, or ideas from one of your sources. It is OK to copy such information as long as you reference it with a citation. If the information is a phrase, sentence, or paragraph, then you should also put it in quotation marks. A citation and quotation marks tell the reader who actually wrote the information.

For every fact or picture in your research paper you should follow it with a citation telling the reader where you found the information. A citation is just the name of the author and the date of the publication placed in parentheses like this: (Author, date). This is called a reference citation when using APA format and parenthetical reference when using the MLA format. Its purpose is to document a source briefly, clearly, and accurately.

Many science experiments can be explained using mathematics. As you write your research paper, you’ll want to make sure that you include as much relevant math as you understand. If a simple equation describes aspects of your science fair project, include it.

Your final report will include these sections: Title page. Abstract. An abstract is an abbreviated version of your final report. Table of contents. Question, variables, and hypothesis. Background research. This is the Research paper you wrote before you started your experiment. Materials list. Experimental procedure. Data analysis and discussion. This section is a summary of what you found out in your experiment, focusing on your observations, data table, and graph(s), which should be included at this location in the report. Conclusions. Ideas for future research. Some science fairs want you to discuss what additional research you might want to do based on what you learned. Acknowledgments. This is your opportunity to thank anyone who helped you with your science fair project, from a single individual to a company or government agency. Bibliography. Write the abstract section last, even though it will be one of the first sections of your final report.

Save your document often! You do not want to work hard getting something written the perfect way, only to have your computer crash and the information lost. Frequent file saving could save you a lot of trouble!

Your final report will be several pages long, but don’t be overwhelmed! Most of the sections are made up of information that you have already written. Gather up the information for each section and type it in a word processor if you haven’t already.

At this point, you are in the home stretch. Except for writing the abstract, preparing your science fair project final report will just entail pulling together the information you have already collected into one large document.

State the hypothesis of your experiment, the driving force behind your science fair project. The National Health Museum defines a hypothesis as a testable statement that predicts a possible explanation to some phenomenon or event.

Report any quantitative (numerical) data you collected during the experiment with line graphs, pie charts or bar charts using a graphing program on the computer.

Write the step-by-step procedure you followed while conducting your science fair experiment. List the materials and lab equipment you used throughout the experiment.

Science fair projects bring to mind images of students in white lab coats conducting experiments and recording data in notebooks. Science fair research papers, however, have become a capstone to any successful science fair project. Science fair winners know how to write reports that prove scientific skills and impress the judges, writes science columnist and educator Dr. Carlson. A well-written research paper helps others understand your science fair project and may even improve your overall grade.

They are written or typed in this form:

*List of books, articles, pamphlets, people you talked to and any other sources you used for researching your idea and writing your paper.

Last name of author (or person you talked to), First name, “Title of article or chapter”, Title of source (book title , magazine title or “Conversation”), Place where published:Publisher name, Date, volume: pages.

*Describe your interpretation of your results. Look over your notes, charts, and log and write what you think your data shows. You can put your opinions here. Was your hypothesis (what you expected to happen) correct? Don’t be afraid to say that you might have made a mistake somewhere. Great discoveries can come from what we learn from mistakes!

When writing a research paper, you must cite your sources! Otherwise you are plagiarizing (claiming someone else’s ideas as your own) which can cause severe penalties from failing your research paper assignment in primary and secondary grades to failing the entire course (most colleges and universities have this policy). To help you avoid plagiarism, follow these simple steps:

Process . This method is used to explain how something is done or how it works by listing the steps of the process. For most science fair projects and science experiments, this is the best format. Reports for science fairs need the entire project written out from start to finish. Your report should include a title page, statement of purpose, hypothesis, materials and procedures, results and conclusions, discussion, and credits and bibliography. If applicable, graphs, tables, or charts should be included with the results portion of your report. Cause and effect . This is another common science experiment research paper format. The basic premise is that because event X happened, event Y happened. Specific to general . This method works best when trying to draw conclusions about how little topics and details are connected to support one main topic or idea. Climatic order . Similar to the “specific to general” category, here details are listed in order from least important to most important. General to specific . Works in a similar fashion as the method for organizing your information. The main topic or subtopic is stated first, followed by supporting details that give more information about the topic. Compare and contrast . This method works best when you wish to show the similarities and/or differences between two or more topics. A block pattern is used when you first write about one topic and all its details and then write about the second topic and all its details. An alternating pattern can be used to describe a detail about the first topic and then compare that to the related detail of the second topic. The block pattern and alternating pattern can also be combined to make a format that better fits your research paper.

Revising your paper basically means you are fixing grammatical errors or changing the meaning of what you wrote. After you have written the rough draft of your paper, read through it again to make sure the ideas in your paper flow and are cohesive. You may need to add in information, delete extra information, use a thesaurus to find a better word to better express a concept, reword a sentence, or just make sure your ideas are stated in a logical and progressive order.

Water as a solid in nature Subtopic: Glaciers – large masses of ice on land Sub-Subtopic: Low temperatures and adequate amounts of snow are needed to form glaciers.