Research Report

Science Fairs Inside Out

Research Paper

Whether you have to write a brief report of your science/engineering project or a more detailed one, each report should still be as complete as you can make it and include all the key elements of your project.

In some cases, judges may come in and look at your presentation board and your report while you’re not in the room. So, the more professional your report looks, the better chance you’ll have of earning an extra point or two.

The report should include the following:

  • Title page with the name of your project and your name and date
  • Table of Contents of the key sections of your report, complete with the page number where those sections are located
  • Abstract, which is a summary of your project, usually presented in one paragraph and often is limited to 250 words or less. It should include the purpose of your experiment, the procedure you used to conduct the experiment, your most important data and your conclusions. If this project is a continuation of another project you previously worked on, there should only be minimal reference to past work. Don’t get technical; any one of your friends should be able to read this abstract and understand what you did. Do not include any thank you’s for anyone who may have helped you or any research labs or institutions you worked at.
  • Your Hypothesis statement, which is what you thought your results would be
  • The Procedure you used, as a step-by-step account of how you performed your experiment. This should be described in such as way as to allow another person to repeat the experiment. It can either be written as a list of instructions or as a narrative/essay. Make sure you include a list of the materials you used, and you can even include relevant photos of you conducting your experiments and/or your procedures.
  • Results/Analysis of the Data. Make sure to include any graphs or charts you created. Explain what you learned from examining your data and the number of times you repeated the experiment. Make note any weird data you got, and try to explain why you think it happened and was not consistent with other data.
  • Conclusion. Was your hypothesis correct or not. If not, then why not?
  • Acknowledgements. Who helped you with your project – be sure to thank them. Did any businesses or labs let you use their space? Include them also.
  • References. Include book, magazine, internet and other references you used for research.
  • Appendices. Information you may not have used elsewhere in the report that you think are relevant. May also include any written correspondence, or photos of you in meetings or visiting a lab or business.