Resources: Helpful Hints and Useful Links

Questions About Forms

What's the SRC?

The SRC is the Scientific Review Committee. Any project dealing with vertebrate animals, pathogenic agents, controlled substances, or recombinant DNA has to have its research plan approved by the SRC before any experiments begin.

What's the IRB?

The IRB is the Institutional Review Board. Any project dealing with human subjects has to have its research plan approved by the IRB before experiments begin.

Do I need to fill out all these forms?

Your packet contains forms that cover both individual and team projects: choose the one appropriate for your project. Your packet also contains forms petitioning SRC/IRB approval. If your project doesn't need SRC or IRB approval, then don't worry about those sections.

Can I be both parent/guardian and adult sponsor?


Questions About Projects:

What can my project be about?

  • behavioral and social sciences: human and animal behavior, social and community relationships
  • biochemistry: chemistry of life processes
  • botany: plant life
  • chemistry: nature and composition of matter
  • computer science
  • earth science
  • engineering: technology, applying scientific principles to manufacturing and practical uses, inventions
  • environmental science
  • mathematics
  • medicine and health: diseases, health of humans and animals
  • microbiology
  • physics: theories, principles, laws governing energy and its effect on matter
  • zoology: animals
  • consumer science: testing of everyday things
  • space science

Which projects need SRC or IRB approval?

Projects that do not involve human subjects, vertebrate animals, pathogenic agents like bacteria and fungi, controlled substances or recombinant DNA require less paperwork. If your project falls into any of these areas, you need SRC/IRB approval.

The IRB (Institutional Review Board) reviews projects dealing with human subjects, and is made up of a school staff member, a person from the health care field, and a person with a science background. They need to review your research plan before you begin your project to make sure your methods are safe and ethical. The SRC (Scientific Review Committee) reviews projects dealing with vertebrate animals (fur, fins, feathers, or scales...), pathogenic agents, controlled substances, or recombinant DNA.

What steps do I need to follow for my science fair project?

  1. Fill out forms and get your research plan approved. ("This is what I want to do.")
  2. Do your research - and keep a log book to record what happened when. ("Let's do it!")
  3. Write an abstract. ("Here's what happened - this is what we expected, this is what we did, and this is what actually happened, which means...")
  4. Create a stand-alone poster to present your findings.

What's an abstract?

An abstract is a short report that explains what your project was - and how you went about doing it - and what you learned from doing it. Click here for more about abstracts.

What do you mean by stand-alone poster?

A stand-alone poster looks like this:

You can buy tri-fold posterboard like this anywhere you can buy arts and crafts supplies. Your poster presents your project and sits on your table at the Science Fair. It should include:

What is science research?

You have a science question, an idea you find interesting. Research involves finding information by observing, asking questions. You can find answers in books, magazines, on the Internet, or interviewing people who know about your subject. Be sure to write down where your answers come from

Where can I get a good idea for my science fair project?

Talk to other people, like a classmate or a teacher. Your librarian can point you toward books that are full of project suggestions. Lots of web sites are there to help kids come up with ideas for research. Look around you -- what are you curious about?

How do I start?

  1. Once you have learned everything you can about your project idea, think of a way to express your research question as a statement that describes what you think will happen: your hypothesis.
  2. Then test that hypothesis to see if you were right. Before you start testing, check with an adult to make sure that your experiment idea is a safe one.
  3. Write down what you find out. Relate what you found out (your results) to your hypothesis. Were you right? Were you wrong? Why?

Useful Links:

Here are a few links to get you started:

Kidspace: the Internet Public Library

Discovery Channel's Science Fair Central

Super Science Fair Projects

Science Fair Project on the Web

Science Fair Projects

Dates: Meetings, deadlines

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