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Research Plan


The Research Plan provides a detailed description of the rationale for your project, your hypothesis/goal, procedure or engineering design and expected outcomes. Students using humans/vertebrates, or potentially hazardous biological agents, chemicals, or devices must include additional information as well.  Carefully read the ISEF guidelines for writing the Research Plan (page 2 of Form 1A).  Also, review the Research Plan Checklist to ensure you have met all of the requirements.  For team projects, each member should submit a copy of the Research Plan.

Please type your Research Plan in a word processing program and save the file on your computer.  You may need to add an addendum to this document at the end of your project if you make changes (see note below regarding the Addendum).  Write your Research Plan in complete sentences and in an outline format (see next page). As indicated in the Research Plan/Project Summary instructions (see the ISEF guidelines for specific details), the following sections need to be included:

  • RATIONALE:  Include a brief synopsis of the background that supports your research problem and explain why this research is important and if applicable, explain any societal impact of your research.
  • RESEARCH QUESTION(S), HYPOTHESIS(ES), ENGINEERING GOAL(S), EXPECTED OUTCOMES: How is this based on the rationale described above?
  • Describe the following in detail:
    • Procedures: Detail all procedures and experimental design including methods for data collection. Describe only your project. Do not include work done by mentor or others.
    • Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks and safety precautions needed.
      • Other required items for projects involving humans, vertebrates, hazardous biological agents, hazardous chemicals/activities/devices goes in this section
    • Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results.
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY: List major references (e.g. science journal articles, books, internet sites) from your literature review. If you plan to use vertebrate animals, one of these references must be an animal care reference.  (Please use at least 5 reputable source, and follow APA formatting).

Research Plan/Project Summary (or Addendum)

Name(s): Project Title: School: Date:

A.  Rationale

B.  Research Question(s)

C.  Hypothesis(es) or Engineering Goal(s)

D.  Procedures

E.  Risk & Safety

F.  Data Analysis

G.  Bibliography