- Project Ideas
- Data Analysis
- Laboratory Mechanisms
- Scientific Writing
- Display Tips
- Presentation Tips
- Links and Resources
Writing a Quality Paper
All Chicago Public Science Fair papers need to use the APA (American Psychological Association) format. For assistance, use The Owl for formatting tips.
Abstract Your abstract should be a brief summary of your experiment. It should be three paragraphs long and discuss the purpose, procedure, and conclusion of your project. Safety Sheet This part has a specific format which will be provided by your advisor. Title Page Come up with an amazing way to display your topic. Table of Contents Self-explanatory. Purpose and Hypothesis In discussing the purpose and hypothesis, you must clearly describe why you conducted the experiment and what prediction you made. It is helpful also to state why you made that prediction. Review of Literature Here you are summarizing the research you have done. Write about research that is relevant to your topic. This is one of the most significant sections of your report. Be sure to cite sources in this section, stating where you got your information from. (See our guide on Choosing Sources ) Materials Just a list of the materials needed for experimentation. If necessary, make a note of dangerous items. Procedure Include a step by step list of the procedure you followed in your experiment. Write this section so that someone who doesn’t know anything about your project can go after what you did. Explain as however your audience is intelligent, but uninformed. Using diagrams along with your explanation of the procedure is a good idea. Results In your report, you must list the results of your experiment. Results that are numerical should be listed in a table or a graph. Reminisce that a graph looks neater, and it is lighter to see patterns in a graph than in a table or list of numbers (see our guide on Graphing in Excel ). Make sure that all tables, graphs, and diagrams are labelled appropriately. Conclusion What did you find out by doing your experiment? Does this result agree with your hypothesis? (It’s okay if it doesn’t!) Talk about your experiment here, but also what kind of broad scientific conclusions can be made. An error analysis discussing what kind of sources of error affected your experiment must be done here. Reference List This is also called the bibliography or the works cited page. Include all the sources you used in your report in this section, as well as material you read which helped you understand your topic. (See our guide on Writing a reference )
By including all the necessary sections in your paper, you make sure that you get the highest score possible. Almost a third of the points awarded in the science fair come from the score on the paper; this means that every successful science fair project had a well-written report.
Another significant thing to consider is that your paper needs to be well-written in addition to having all the necessary components. Grammar doesn’t need to be flawless, but everything should be spelled correctly, and there shouldn’t be any evident scientific inaccuracies. Write your paper early and spend some time proofreading it. Also make sure that others read your paper so that they can help check it with you. Writing a paper takes time, and rushing through it will very likely end with poor results.
Check the Science Mates website to see some of the technical aspects of writing a science paper. (font, size, pictures, etc)
If you include all the necessary parts of your science fair report and take your time writing and proofreading it, you will succeed .