Tips & Advice

Work on something you yourself are interested in
You don’t need to know all about your topic when you start. That is the whole idea of doing research. Good projects are ones that you have fun with.

Start Early
This gives you more time for research and to polish your presentation.

Get Lots of Help
There are many people that can help you with your project: teachers, mentors and parents. They can’t do your project for you but they can teach you about all sorts of things including how to use tools needed for your research.

Make a Plan
It takes time to learn and do research. Your teachers plan out the entire year for courses you take. You need to meet deadlines too but you can keep your schedule simple. Keep track of things you need to do like creating an abstract, doing research and writing a research paper (which is encouraged, but not required).

Project Data Book
A project data book is your most treasured piece of work. Accurate and detailed notes make a logical and winning project. Good notes show consistency and thoroughness to the judges, and will help you when writing your research paper.

Abstract
After finishing research and experimentation, you are required to write a maximum 250 words, one-page abstract. An abstract should include (a) the purpose of the experiment, (b) procedures used, (c) data, and (d) conclusions. It also may include any possible research applications. Only minimal reference to previous work may be included. An abstract should not include the following: acknowledgments, or work or procedures done by the mentor.

Visual Display
You want to attract and inform. Make it easy for interested spectators and judges to assess your study and the results you have obtained. Make the most of your space using clear and concise displays. Make headings stand out, and draw graphs and diagrams clearly and label them correctly. But any display you assemble must follow our Safety and Display guidelines.

A Good Title
Your title is an extremely important attention-grabber. A good title should simply and accurately present your research. The title should make the casual observer want to know more.

Take Photographs
Many projects involve elements that may not be safely exhibited at the fair, but are an important part of the project. You might want to take photographs of important parts/phases of your experiment to use in your display. Photographs or other visual images of human test subjects must have informed consent.

Be Organized
Make sure your display is logically presented and easy to read. A glance should permit anyone (particularly the judges) to locate quickly the title, experiments, results, and conclusions. When you arrange your display, imagine that you are seeing it for the first time.

Eye-Catching
Make your display stand out. Use neat, colorful headings, charts, and graphs to present your project. Home-built equipment, construction paper, and colored markers are excellent for project displays. Pay special attention to the labeling of graphs, charts, diagrams, and tables. Each item must have a descriptive title. Anyone should be able to understand the visuals without further explanation.

Correctly Presented & Well Constructed
Be sure to adhere to size limitations and safety rules when preparing your display. Display all required forms for your project. Make sure your display is sturdy, as it must remain intact for quite a while.

Research Report
A report is optional, but strongly encouraged and will be required at ISEF. A project report is the written record of your entire project from start to finish. It should be clear and detailed enough for a reader to know exactly what you did, why you did it, what the results were, whether or not the experimental evidence supported your hypothesis, and where you got your research information. This written document is your spokesperson when you are not present to explain your project, but more than that, it documents all your work.

Do Your Best!
Great research does not make a great project if you do not present it well. Aspects of the project like writing a paper or making a presentation board may not be at the top of your list of interesting things to do but they are all needed to make a great project. You will find it easier and more fun as you become better at doing these chores.