INDEPENDENT SCIENCE RESEARCH PROJECT IDEAS
One of the most difficult aspects for a scientific research project is the selection of an appropriate topic. To that end, w e are
going to commence this process at the start of the first semester. The goal is to have a approved topic and the associated
background research done by the spring.
You are to come up with three possible ideas for projects. It is strongly recommended not to use vertebrates. If you are
interested in using this topic for next year’s science fair, appropriate supervision and facilities may be required.
Each of the three are to typed on separate sheets with the following information.
Title: (very specific) indicates the relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable
Purpose/Problem: (clear and concise) Describe the value or the concern that might be alleviated by the results of this
Hypothesis: (clear and concise) Statement predicting the effect of the changes made in the independent variable on the
dependent variable. Generally it takes the form of
If ...., then....
Independent variable: (only one, clearly defined) The variable that is purposely changed or manipulated.
Dependent variable: (clearly defined, how it will be measured) The variable that changes in response to the independent
What will be used as a standard for comparison? The control is the standard to which all experimental groups are
The control represents the “normal” situation, or the condition that is typically used and not altered in any way.
What things in the testing environment will stay the “same” for all parts of your experiment?
Information to include here should come from the guided reading exercises (see page 3) as you read related literature
(sources/references) about your topic to determine relevant subtopics, as well as previous research and/or experiments
conducted by others on your topic.
Based on the above, address the following so you can continue to develop your experimental design further:
What topics and subtopics will be researched in the library, or using on-line databases?
What background information is needed to design your experiment?
This may be in the form of questions that need to be researched to support the experimental problem.
Using numerical steps, write a general procedure for the experiment. This is a work in progress. You will probably
have to edit your procedure several times as you develop your experimental design throughout 9th grade and early
on in 10th grade. Do the BEST you can at this point. Refer to the rubric as well to help you.
The steps need to be as specific as possible, and should include all safety precautions, quantities, units of
measurement, scientific names, crucial steps that an experimenter needs to perform to correctly (error free)
conduct the experiment.
Try to write the procedure as if someone was performing it for the first time
Things to remember before presenting the proposal to your teacher:
1- Is the answer to your problem/question already known?
o Can the answer be found in a textbook, or science article?
2- Do you think this proposal idea is interesting to others?
3- Can the problem be experimentally tested and/or tested safely?
4- Can the results be presented in metric units?
5- Are the materials & equipment readily available to you, or do you need to purchase some items? How much will this
cost? Where will I get the items?
6- Is the experiment repeatable? Keep in mind that at least 15, or more, trials per variable/condition will need to be
completed to make the results statistically valid.
7- Can the experiment be completed in the fall or winter months? If not, you will need to plan ahead, get early
approval from the school’s SRP committee/Science Department, and begin your experiment during the
spring/summer between Honors Earth Science and Honors Biology.
8- You may need to follow additional teacher guidelines instructing you to get signatures/suggestions from other
teachers. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!!
9- A scientific paper should always be written in the third person (the investigator) rather than in the first person (I
Science Research Project: Choosing A Topic
Directions: One factor critical to the success of all science projects is the choice of a topic. This can be the most difficult
part of the project and one that must be done immediately. The questions below are designed to encourage exploration of
subjects that might be of interest to you. The time spent working on your project will be more interesting if you choose a
topic that you like. In answering these questions, try to narrow down the area or field of science you would like to
explore. For example, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Computers,
Psychology, Music/Art, even food science. Remember, these areas or fields have many, many subtopics. For example,
in Biology there is health and wellness, botany (plants), microbiology, cell and molecular biology (DNA/genetics),
biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, ecology, etc.
1. What is your favorite hobby? How do you spend your free time? List at least five things.
2. What sports interest you? What sports to you participate in, coach, or watch?
3. What is your favorite subject in school? What specific topics do you like within this subject?
4. What labs or activities from previous classes have you enjoyed?
5. What are some of your favorite science topics?
6. What TV shows and/or movies have you seen lately that deal with “science”? What topics were in the show?
7. What interesting books have you read on a science topic?
8. What magazine do you receive at your house? Browse through them and look for science related topics. List them
9. What careers have you thought about?
10. To what clubs or organizations do you belong?
11. Have your parents ever done or heard of an interesting research project? What was it?
12. List all of the people you know (even remotely) who are scientists or work in a science field. What field do they work
13. Who is your favorite scientist? What is he/she famous for?
14. If you were being paid a million dollars to complete one year of actual science research, what problem would you like to
look at or examine?
15. What issues or problems have been in the news lately that require research to define answers ?
Science Research Project: Guided Reading Exercise
Directions: This exercise is to be done with several references (sources) BEFORE you complete the 3 IDEAS assignment.
While reading a science-related book, article, or journal of interest in the area in which you think you want to experiment,
reflect and expand on the following questions. Try to develop a researchable / testable question. The following link provides
access to a variety of on-line databases. Refer to the end of this document for log-in codes. (Simply cut and past this link into
your web browser).
1) What is the title of the book or article?
2) Who is the author?
3) Summarize what the article is about? (topic)
4) Why do you think the author wrote the article?
5) Did you like the book /article or think that it was interesting?
6) Explain why you did or did not like the article:
7) Do you think others would be interested in this article / topic?
8) After reading the book / article, think about a question(s) that may not have been answered
in the reading:
What contradictions were there in the reading?
9) If you were the one who wrote the book /article, what would you have done differently?
10) What references does the book / article list for additional reading or past works ?
11) Provide this article’s bibliography information below in APA format.
12) Loudoun County Public Schools On-line Data Base Log-in Codes
Site Access Science CQ Researcher EBSCO eLibrary
Log-in lcps lcps1 lcpsh lcpsh
Password science high high high
Site InfoTrac net Trekker NewsBank SuperSearch
Log-in No username lcpsh lcpsh lcps
Password high lchigh high search
If the Google Search Engine is used, select the following: Google : More : Scholar