3. Completing the Project

Once you’ve chosen your topic, you need to complete your project. From start to finish, we’ll take you through all the steps. Start with Outline for the Project, which will tell you what you need to do. Knowing the steps ahead of time will help you plan your project better.

If you haven’t clicked on the Scientific Method yet, do so before you go any further!

It’s important that you use good methods in your project. Then you can come back to this page to get more advice on how to Think Up a Research Question and how to Conduct an Experiment.

When you’ve done all that, you’ll be ready to write your report, build your display, and get ready for your Presentation.

Outline for the project

Some of the best places to go for a complete outline of a science project. Spend some time exploring these sites, as they contain a lot of different resources that will help you get organized.

7 Steps To A Successful Project -- Science Fair Projects -- Conservation International
http://www.conservation.org/resources/education/science_fair/Pages/projects.aspx
Follow these 7 steps to complete a science project, from devising a research question to creating the presentation. You may not be doing a project in biodiversity, but the outline will be useful no matter what kind of topic you’ve chosen.

Discoveryschool.com's Science Fair Central
http://school.discovery.com/sciencefaircentral/scifairstudio/
Plenty of help for students, teachers, and parents: the "Soup to Nuts Handbook," project ideas, and lists of books and websites you can use to research your topic.

Neuroscience for Kids
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/fair.html
This site describes each part of a successful project and includes links to other Science Fair help sites.

Science Buddies
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/project_scientific_method.shtml
Very detailed help on how to do research, experiment, analyze data, reach conclusions, create your display, and survive the judging. Many of these topics include a self-quiz that helps you fix the weak spots in your project before the judges see it.

Science Fair Projects page by Peter Macinnis
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/projects.htm
Offers a detailed step-by-step guide to doing a science fair project, a long with many project ideas and Resources to help with science fairs and projects.

Think up a Research Question

This section will help you turn your questions into scientific hypotheses. Remember! A good science fair question is one that you can think of a way to answer.

Cyberbee: Science Fair Project
http://www.cyberbee.com/science/prep_sites.html
Read through and fill out this worksheet to make your topic more specific and to learn how to tell your variables from your results.

EarthScope’s Science Fair
http://www.earthscope.org/education/misc/scifair.php
Learn to start where "every good scientist does – with a simple question." EarthScope follows each step of a simple experiment to test why winter is colder than summer, an excellent example to show how a big topic might be handled with a clever test.

Science Buddies: Background Research
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/project_biblio.shtml
Learn how to do your background research using a sample project to illustrate the process. You’ll learn where to go to find information and what your research is supposed to tell you. The "Question Words Table" will help turn your research into a testable question.

What Makes a Good Science Fair Project? - California State Science Fair
http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/Resources/Good_Project.html
Explains the difference between a good hypothesis and a poor one, as well as why "getting the right answer is NOT the purpose of a Science Fair project." A list of common mistakes is found at the end.

Wiley: Developing a Science Fair Project
http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-104125.html
Look at the section on "tinkering research" to see why you start researching before your project idea is fully formed. Also see the five questions which need "Yes" answers before your experimental project is ready to go.

Conduct an Experiment

If your project involves an experiment, this section will help keep you on track, and if you’re doing something else, some of the sites below will help you with keeping a journal and organizing your information.

Chemistry.About.com: Doing Your Science Project
http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/aa121002c.htm
Useful tips (with explanations) for conducting your experiment, such as write down everything, don’t discard data, and repeat your experiment.

Collect Your Data - Step 4 - 7 Steps to a Successful Project
http://investigate.conservation.org/xp/IB/sciencefairs/7steps/step4.xml
Even if you’re not investigating biodiversity, check out what they say here about keeping a journal and making up data sheets. They’re essential to almost any kind of project that involves investigation.

Science Buddies: Variable & Hypothesis
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/project_variables.shtml
Defines the essential features of a scientific experiment: independent, dependent, and controlled variables, and how to create a hypothesis.

ScI-Journal: Hints and Tips
http://www.sci-journal.org/index.php?link=help/planning.php&template_type=tips
A series of webpages showing you how to plan your project, obtain data, analyze your results, and present your results.

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