Below lie the required project guidelines when submitting a project to NCSAS:
Writing the Paper
This is your summary of the months you have spent conducting research. A suggested paper format follows:
A. Title - A clear, concise, appropriate description of your project.
B. Abstract - In 250 words or less, describe the project included in the paper.
C. Introduction - Briefly describe the aims and purpose of the research. It should include a statement of the hypothesis or hypotheses.
D. Experimental Methods - Describe in detail the methods, experiments, and controls (including difficulties and remedies) used in the research. It should be detailed enough that an interested researcher could duplicate your experiment.
E. Results and Conclusions - Summary of your experimental results and conclusions. Strive for quantitative observations. This material should be presented in tables or graphically wherever practical. Photographs and drawings may also be used. This section may also include an evaluation of the success of the experiment and suggestions for future research. A good piece of original research often raises more questions than it answers. Note: a complete record of every instrument reading and happening observed should not be included here but can be attached to the paper as an appendix.
F. Bibliography - A listing of all books, publications, and communications from which significant material was drawn for the research
G. Acknowledgments - This is where you give credit for assistance received from scientists, instructors, parents, etc. You may also give credit to literature listed in the bibliography from which essential material was obtained.
It is permissible to use first person when writing your paper. Carefully proofread your paper. If your paper contains numerous errors, the reader may assume that your experiment was conducted with the same carelessness.
Individual Research Projects
In the state and district competitions, papers are screened by the competition director and placed into one of the following categories. Depending on the number of entries, categories may be divided or combined for judging.
I. Behavioral ScienceII. Biological ScienceIII. BiotechnologyIV. Computer ScienceV. Earth/Space/Environmental ScienceVI. Physics or Physical ScienceVII. MathematicsVIII. ChemistryIX. Technology/Engineering
XI. ADVANCED - Earth/Environmental/Space Science
XII. ADVANCED - Physics
XIII. ADVANCED - Chemistry
XIV. ADVANCED - Biotechnology-->Papers meeting one or more of the criteria for "Advanced" are judged separately. See below. The district Co-directors make the final decision on the category for each paper submitted for district competition. A similar decision will be made at the state level by the Executive Director.
Each student presents his/her paper orally and the projects are evaluated by a panel of judges. Ten minutes are allowed for the presentation and five minutes for questioning by the judges. The judges' questions take priority; however, questions may be received from the audience if time permits.
A student may present only one paper in the NCSAS competition each year. If a research project was done jointly by two or three students, all members of the team may present the paper and answer questions. However, the same time allowance described above for a single presenter for presentation and questions applies also to joint papers.
Projects are judged at three levels. The junior level includes students in grades 6-8. The senior level includes grades 9-12. The third is the Advanced level and includes research projects from grades 6-12 that meet any of the following criteria:
A. The student spent or received gifts worth more than $200 for the project in addition to materials provided by the school (audio-visual supplies are excluded).
B. The student researcher worked under the direct supervision of an employee of a hospital, college or university, commercial laboratory or industry, or a professional research organization.
C. The student used a data base of which a substantial portion was obtained from instrumentation or other procedures that the student researcher did not personally operate or perform.
D. The project is a continuation of a study for which results have previously been reported by other students.
Students compete with other students at their own level and within a specific category. The following criteria are used in judging individual and team research projects at the district and state levels:
- Experimental design
- Including: originality, organization, clarity, completeness, logical consistency, and good scientific practices.
- Research paper
- Including: organization, presentation of data, proper use of references, illustrations, proper English usage, and neatness.
- Including: organization, clarity, use of visual aids, and response to questions.
- Completeness of entry
- Completed entry submitted by published deadline.
- Completed paper submitted by published deadline.
- Completeness points will be awarded only if all completeness criteria are met.
At the district level, judges will determine winners in each category according to the accomplishment shown by the projects. A maximum of three winners from each category at each level may be chosen to represent the district at the State Meeting. Two additional entries may be recommended by the District Co-director, not to exceed three papers per category.
If live animals were used in the research, the animal use form must be submitted with the project.
Competition includes science-related work performed by clubs which aids the club, schools, or community. The Service Project Competititon is intended to promote community involvement among students interested in science. Club projects are important as they promote visible improvements, develop favorable local publicity and support, and provide encouragement and involvement of students.
The following format is recommended for the written report to be submitted at the time of registration:
- Objectives--reasons for projects, goals, who benefits
The following guidelines will be used for judging:
- Originality of Project
- Degree of club involvement in project
- Degree of community involvement
- How beneficial was the project
- Lasting or continuing impact of project
- Were the objectives of the project met
- Organization of presentation
- Response to questioning
- Use of visual aids
Each project chairman will be allowed 10 minutes to present the club's project to the committee. This presentation may include charts and other audio-visual aids; however, clubs must provide any equipment other than slide projectors or overhead projectors needed in the presentation.
After all of the projects have been presented at the district meeting, the judging committee will choose the winning project by vote. The project receiving the most votes will represent the district in state competition. However, in special circumstances where there is more than one outstanding project, the district committee may recommend two projects for competition at the state level.
At the state level, each project chairman will be permitted 10 minutes for presentation and the judging committee will be permitted 5 minutes to ask questions at the end of the presentation. No questions will be permitted from the floor.