The Scientific Method: Background Research for Science Fair Projects

Last week we talked about developing your science fair project’s hypothesis and 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.

Whether you are working on an easy 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 original research, Internet, news headlines, your textbook and science fair kits.

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. This “essay” will be part of your Project Research Report. 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.

To get more detail on how to do background research, look here if you are following the scientific method. If you are doing an Engineering Design Process, then look here…

6 thoughts on “The Scientific Method: Background Research for Science Fair Projects

  1. Darek@Florida Vacation Rental Homes says:

    Whether it’s business or science, for every project, researchers usually summarize relevant literature/ information in the introduction to research reports. This provides readers with a background for understanding current knowledge on a topic and illuminates the significance for the new study.

  2. Joey@Gochi Juice says:

    Doing a background research is very crucial for a project’s success. I remember one time I was working with some research work on finding the relationship between corporate image and customer satisfaction. I blew it up just because the background research was not done properly.

  3. Lisa@Review says:

    @Joey: I totally agree with you. I too have similar experience. Last month, I was working on determining Customer Satisfaction Level of a Commercial Bank and about to complete the report, then I came to know about the SERVQUAL model. Thus I had to redo the report again just because I didn’t conduct proper background review.

    • sunshine says:

      Lisa, so what you and Joey are saying is that background research is also important in business, not just in doing science fair projects. What this shows is that when you learn how to do a science fair project you learn a skill for life’s future experiences.

  4. taislim says:

    I am somehow involved in the world of Science myself. Conducting the background research is very important and crucial in teh success of the study or experiment. Bad research would most of the time lead to failed experiments.

  5. Mark says:

    To design an experiment, you need to research what techniques and equipment might be best for investigating your topic. Rather than starting from scratch, savvy Investigators want to use their library and Internet research to help them find the best way to do things.

    You want to learn from the experience of others rather than blunder around and repeat their mistakes. A scientist named Mike Kalish put it humorously like this: “A year in the lab can save you a day in the library.”

    Mark from free classified website

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