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How to Write Your Science Project Research Paper

Keep a copy of your protocol. It will not be returned to you. It will be kept until your project is graded.

  1. Score Sheet - You will receive a copy of the score sheet that will be used to grade your paper.
  2. Guidelines - If you follow these guidelines exactly, you will be able to produce a well-constructed paper, and you will be rewarded with an outstanding test grade.
  3. Prepare a cover sheet with your name, period and project problem.
  4. Place the score sheet, with the identifying information completed, under the cover sheet before handing in your completed paper. Do not staple the score sheet as part of your paper.
  5. Compile your research into a 500-word paper that is organized, well written and meaningful to your project.
  6. If you type your paper, the research should comprise approximately two pages, double-spaced, with default margins and typeface of 12 points (as used in these guidelines). Default margins have top and bottom margins equal to one inch; they have left and right margins equal to 1.25 inches.
  7. If you do not type your paper, the research should comprise approximately four pages written in black ink and on only the front side of each page.
  8. Use internal documentation to give credit to the appropriate author by writing the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the reference used in parenthesis after each sentence or paragraph cited. If you copy a passage word-for-word, be sure to enclose it in quotation marks.
  9. Prepare a bibliography in which you list all of your references, including those that you may not use in your actual paper. Number each reference and list it alphabetically by the author’s last name. (You will be given a handout explaining the correct citation of a reference.) You must have a minimum of three references that you actually use in your paper.
  10. State the problem that you are seeking an answer to as a question. Do not use any personal pronouns.
  11. State your hypothesis as an “If ………. then ……….” sentence. Write your statement in clear and concise terms and do not use any personal pronouns. Your hypothesis is your answer to this problem. Your references should support what you feel is the answer to your question. In other words, it was your background research that led you to this answer.
  12. Describe the materials and equipment that you will use when conducting your experiment. Describe how you will use them to experimentally determine an answer to your question.
  13. Explain in detail how you plan to conduct your experiment. The procedure should be written in second person understood. Be sure to list the control, the dependent variable, and the independent variable. You should include drawings (to scale) for anything that must be constructed as part of your experiment. Also, include diagrams if they make your experiment more understandable. Remember - your procedure should be described so well that anyone could perform the experiment and get results that are almost identical to yours! Describe how you will conduct your experiment to determine an answer to your question.
  14. When writing your paper, you should use correct grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and spelling. Also remember that neatness in presentation is essential.
  15. When putting your paper together, the bibliography should be on a separate page from the background research. Put the problem and hypothesis on the same page, and include the materials with the procedure. Staple all pages together in the top left-hand corner. Do not put your paper in a folder, notebook or in clear plastic protectors.
  16. Include any formulas or constants that will be used in your data analysis. Units must be included and the variables must be defined.
  17. If a historical background is included in your paper, it cannot exceed ˝ page. No points are awarded for this section!

Additional Directions

  1. The 500 words limitation applies only to your background research. All formulas, diagrams, drawings, etc. that you include in your paper do not count as part of the minimum length requirement.
  2. This assignment will count as one test grade during the second six weeks grading period.
  3. Ten points per day will be deducted from your grade if the paper is handed in late. After three days, you will have earned a zero test grade.
  4. Surveys will require a minimum sample size of 150. Participatory experiments will require a total of 50 people. Plant investigations will require a minimum of 50 plants in the control group and a minimum of 50 plants in each experimental group. Animal studies will require a sample size approved by your teacher.

    Science Fair Information

    Research Paper Score Sheet