Create Your Project Summaries
By this step, you are ready to prepare your project summaries. Most science fairs require that projects include project summaries. The project summaries include an abstract and a research paper. This chapter gives information and examples for a project abstract and a research paper. Before writing your project summaries, decide on a project title (a descriptive heading of the project), which will appear on your abstract, on the title page of your research paper, and prominently on your display backboard. The project title should capture the theme of the project and be intriguing. Its purpose is to attract the attention of observers and make them want to know more. There are no set rules for the length of the title, but it should be short enough to be read at a glance. A rule of thumb is that it should be about 10 words or less. A good title for the sample project about moths' attraction to colored lights is "White or Yellow? Attraction of Moths to Light." Also check with your teacher about the requirements for the science fair you are entering.
An abstract is a brief overview of the project. It should be no more than one page long and a maximum of 250 words. It includes the title "Abstract," a project title, a statement of purpose, a hypothesis, a brief summary of your experiment procedure, data, and conclusions. The abstract is generally required to be part of the display. (For information about designing your project display, see chapter 10.) This gives judges something to refer to when making final decisions. The abstract is a very important representation of your project, so be sure to do a thorough job on this part of your report.
Your project report is a written report of your entire project from start to finish. The project report should be clear and detailed enough for a reader who is unfamiliar with your project to know exactly what you did, why you did it, what the results were, whether the experimental evidence supported your hypothesis, and where you got your research information. This written document is your spokesperson when you are not present to explain your project, but more than that, it documents all your work.
Because you'll be recording everything in your project log book as the project progresses, all you need to do in preparing the project report is to organize and neatly copy the desired material from the book's contents. Check with your teacher for the order and content of the report as regulated by the fair in which you are entering the project. Most science fairs require that the report be typewritten, double spaced, and bound in a folder or notebook. It should contain a title page, a table of contents, an introduction, an experiment, discussion, a conclusion, acknowledgments, and references. The rest of this chapter describes these parts of a project report and gives examples based on the sample moth project.
This is the first page of the report. The project title should be centered on the page, and your name, school, and grade should appear in the lower right-hand corner.