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1.Create a project journal

Throughout all stages of your experiment, it is critically important that you keep accurate records of the results as they are produced. You may not be able to remember the details of your observations correctly once your experimentation has been completed. Make careful and accurate notes of all the data collected and date each entry correctly. The notes that you write while working on your project may look a little messy, but you should keep recording all the details of your data and observations as they will be extremely valuable when you are putting together your final product. For example, data tables are easy to create, and they can be extremely helpful to organise your data in the writing stage of your research paper. Carefully taken notes will come in handy when it’s time to present your project to the judges and other visitors.  

2. Write a research paper

Students are required to write a research paper and make sure that a printout is readily available alongside their project journal and all other tools and materials that they will need to display their project on a skirted table which will be provided by IGO. A successful research paper contains a minimum of the following sections: 

  1. Cover Page 
  2. Table of Contents 
  3. Abstract 
  4. Introduction 
  5. Materials and Methods 
  6. Results 
  7. Conclusion 
  8. Discussion 
  9. Acknowledgments 
  10. References / Bibliography 

 

a. Cover Page

Your cover page should include the title of the project and the name of the researcher.

b. Table of Contents

Include a table of contents on the second page, which should include all the headings in your research paper. 

c. Abstract

The abstract is a concise summary of your project, which should not be longer than one page. A successful abstract highlights the project title, key content areas, your research purpose, a hypothesis, the relevance or importance of your work, a short description of the procedure used in your research, and the main outcomes. You are required to submit a copy of your abstract at the time when you are registering for IGO, which the judges will refer to when making decision for the final results. 

d. Introduction

This section contains a statement of your research purpose as well as the background information on how you came to conduct this research. The introduction should also include a concise summary of your research-based hypothesis, which means you should explain what information and knowledge you had at the time that encouraged you to hypothesise your answer to the research question in your project. Additionally, remember to make mention of any information and experiences that influenced your decision in choosing your project’s purpose. 

e. Materials and Methods

In this section, you should include detailed descriptions and specifics of all the procedures you made use of in collecting data and making observations for your project. A list of all the materials, as well as the amount of each material, should be included in the procedures, and the procedural steps should be written in the correct order. Your documented methods should be sufficiently thorough such that someone else should be able to repeat the experiment by simply following the information and instructions in your paper. Detailed photographs and/or drawings can also be used in this section. 

f. Results

All measurements and observations that you recorded during each experiment as well as the analysis of your collected data should be included in this section. Use your data to create graphs, tables, and charts making sure that they are labelled correctly. If your project contains a large amount of data, you may want to include most of it in an appendix, which you can keep in a separate binder or notebook. In case you choose to split the materials, you should include a summary of the data in the data section of your report. 

g. Discussion

Use this section to explain the findings of your research; remember that this is not your conclusion section. Make sure that you compare your results with the existing published data, commonly held beliefs, and/or expected outcomes. You should also include possible errors in your discussion section. Additionally, make suggestions as to what would do differently to further improve your project in the future, as well as what new experiments should be conducted. 

h. Conclusion

The conclusion section should not be longer than one page. This section is not the place for details about your methodology or outcomes. This should include a concise summary that highlights what you discovered based on your experimental results. Your research hypothesis should be stated in the conclusion, and it should also be indicated whether the hypothesis is supported by the data. A brief discussion of recommendation for exploring new ideas for other experiments in the future might also be included in this section. Additionally, any practical applications of your project can be included here.  

i.  Acknowledgments

Technically, your project is required to be a product of your own, however, you are allowed to use some assistance. This section should not be just a list of all names, but rather a brief paragraph containing the names of the individuals and/or institutions that helped you; also, explain how they helped you.

j. References / Bibliography

In this section, provide a list of all the resources and references that you used during your research for the project, which should also include the details of the magazines and books that were used in your research. These details should be presented in such as way that they can be used by the interested readers who want to check out these books and the research articles for themselves. 

Here are the details that you should include for each book: the title of the book, the name of its author, the publisher, the city where the book was published, and the date when it was published. 

For each research article that you have used, include the following details: the title of the article, the author’s name, the magazine it was appeared in, the date of this issue of the magazine, the volume of the magazine, and the pages the article appears on.  

A few sample references are included below: 

Johnson, Peter H. “Wired for Warmth,” (electric soil warmers – plant propagators), Rodale’s Organic Gardening, Jan. 1987, vol. 34, 68 

Example for a book: 

Math, Irwin. Wires & Watts, New York, Scribner, 1981 

Example for an encyclopaedia: 

“Gyroscopic Properties,” The World Book Encyclopaedia, 1988, vol. 8, 477 

Example for a website: 

Planning for College and Academic Planning. The College Board. 7 June 2000, http://www.collegeboard.org/features/parentgd/html/academic.html