Last week we talked about developing your science fair project’s hypothesis. This week we will be discussing how to conduct the background research for your project. This is an activity that needs to be done both before you create your hypothesis and after you develop your hypothesis.
No matter if you are working on 24-hour science fair projects or a complex multi-month science fair project, you need to begin the scientific method by learning about your topic. Your initial background research will be a general survey of your topic.
For example, if you are working on a project about seed germination, then you will want to learn about germination and plant growth. The purpose of this research is to help you understand your project and to help you find a topic to base your hypothesis on.
After you have developed your hypothesis you will need to conduct the second part of your research. This research will focus on science fair projects that have already been done on your topic, as well as on new findings about your topic. Great resources for this phase of your project’s research will be the Internet, news headlines, your textbook and science fair kits. As part of your research you will also want to complete some basic science experiments to learn the basic concepts associated with your project.
After you have finished both parts of your research you will need to compose a short essay which summarizes what you have learned so far. A simple way to do this is to write a short paragraph on each resource or topic that you researched. Remember to create a bibliography for your project.