Science Fair Research Paper Table Of Contents Example

Key Info

At this point, you are in the home stretch. Except for writing the abstract, preparing your science fair project final report will just entail pulling together the information you have already collected into one large document.

  • Your final report will include these sections:
    • Title page.
    • Abstract. An abstract is an abbreviated version of your final report.
    • Table of contents.
    • Question, variables, and hypothesis.
    • Background research. This is the Research paper you wrote before you started your experiment.
    • Materials list.
    • Experimental procedure.
    • Data analysis and discussion. This section is a summary of what you found out in your experiment, focusing on your observations, data table, and graph(s), which should be included at this location in the report.
    • Conclusions.
    • Ideas for future research. Some science fairs want you to discuss what additional research you might want to do based on what you learned.
    • Acknowledgments. This is your opportunity to thank anyone who helped you with your science fair project, from a single individual to a company or government agency.
    • Bibliography.
  • Write the abstract section last, even though it will be one of the first sections of your final report.

  • Your final report will be several pages long, but don't be overwhelmed! Most of the sections are made up of information that you have already written. Gather up the information for each section and type it in a word processor if you haven't already.

  • Save your document often! You do not want to work hard getting something written the perfect way, only to have your computer crash and the information lost. Frequent file saving could save you a lot of trouble!

  • Remember to do a spelling and grammar check in your word processor. Also, have a few people proof read your final report. They may have some helpful comments!

Sample

Here is a sample science fair project final report. Note: The author's teacher did not require source citations and required a different format for the bibliography. Science Buddies staff added references and reformatted the bibliography at a later date; consequently, the page and volume references are fictitious for some of the sources.

Science Fair Project Final Report Checklist

What Makes for a Good Science Fair Project Final Report?For a Good Science Fair Project Final Report, You Should Answer "Yes" to Every Question
Does your abstract include a short summary of the hypothesis, materials & procedures, results, and conclusion? If you did an engineering or programming project, did you state whether you met your design criteria?Yes / No
Does your final report include:
  • Title page.
  • Abstract.
  • Table of contents.
  • Question, variables, and hypothesis.
  • Background research (your Research Paper).
  • Materials list.
  • Experimental procedure.
  • Data analysis and discussion (including data table and graph(s)).
  • Conclusions.
  • Ideas for future research (for some fairs only).
  • Acknowledgments.
  • Bibliography.
Yes / No

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I.  General Points to Consider

When considering whether to include content in an appendix, keep in mind the following points:

  1. It is usually good practice to include your raw data in an appendix, laying it out in a clear format so the reader can re-check your results. Another option if you have a large amount of raw data is to consider placing it online and note that this is the appendix to your research paper.
  2. Any tables and figures included in the appendix should be numbered as a separate sequence from the main paper. Remember that appendices contain non-essential information that, if removed, would not diminish a reader's ability to understand the research problem being investigated. This is why non-textual elements should not carry over the sequential numbering of non-textual elements in the body of your paper.
  3. If you have more than three appendices, consider listing them on a separate page at the beginning of your paper. This will help the reader know before reading the paper what information is included in the appendices [always list the appendix or appendices in a table of contents].
  4. The appendix can be a good place to put maps, photographs, diagrams, and other images, if you feel that it will help the reader to understand the content of your paper, while keeping in mind the point that the study should be understood without them.
  5. An appendix should be streamlined and not loaded with a lot information. If you have a very long and complex appendix, it is a good idea to break it down into separate appendices, allowing the reader to find relevant information quickly as the information is covered in the body of the paper.

II.  Content

Never include an appendix that isn’t referred to in the text. All appendices should be summarized in your paper where it is relevant to the content. Appendices should also be arranged sequentially by the order they were first referenced in the text [i.e., Appendix 1 should not refer to text on page eight of your paper and Appendix 2 relate to text on page six].

There are few rules regarding what type of material can be included in an appendix, but here are some common examples:

  • Correspondence -- if your research included collaborations with others or outreach to others, then correspondence in the form of letters, memorandums, or copies of emails from those you interacted with could be included.
  • Interview Transcripts -- in qualitative research, interviewing respondents is often used to gather information. The full transcript from an interview is important so the reader can read the entire dialog between researcher and respondent.
  • Non-textual elements -- as noted above, if there are a lot of non-textual items, such as, figures, tables, maps, charts, photographs, drawings, or graphs, think about highlighting examples in the text of the paper but include the remainder in an appendix.
  • Questionnaires or surveys -- this is a common form of data gathering. Always include the survey instrument or questionnaires in an appendix so the reader understands not only the questions asked but the sequence in which they were asked. Include all variations of the instruments as well if different items were sent to different groups.
  • Raw statistical data – this can include any numerical data that is too lengthy to include in charts or tables in its entirety within the text.
  • Research instruments -- if you used a camera, or a recorder, or some other device to gather information and it is important for the reader to understand how that device was used; this information can be placed in an appendix.
  • Sample calculations – this can include quantitative research formulas or detailed descriptions of how calculations were used to determine relationships and significance.

NOTE:  Appendices should not be a dumping ground for information. Do not include vague or irrelevant information in an appendix; this additional information will not help the reader’s overall understanding and interpretation of your research and may only distract the reader from understanding the significance of your overall study.

ANOTHER NOTE:  Appendices are intended to provide supplementary information that you have gathered or created; it is not intended to replicate or provide a copy of the work of others. For example, if you need to contrast the techniques of analysis used by other authors with your own method of analysis, summarize that information, and cite to the original work. In this case, a citation to the original work is sufficient enough to lead the reader to where you got the information. You do not need to provide this in an appendix.


Format

Here are some general guideline on how to format appendices, but consult the writing style guide [e.g., APA] your professor wants you to use for more detail, if needed:

  • Appendices may precede or follow your list of references.
  • Each appendix begins on a new page.
  • The order they are presented is dictated by the order they are mentioned in the text of your research paper.
  • The heading should be "Appendix," followed by a letter or number [e.g., "Appendix A" or "Appendix 1"], centered and written in bold type.
  • Appendices must be listed in the table of contents [if used].
  • The page number(s) of the appendix/appendices will continue on with the numbering from the last page of the text.

Appendices. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Appendices. Academic Skills Office, University of New England; Appendices. Writing Center, Walden University; Chapter 12, "Use of Appendices." In Guide to Effective Grant Writing: How to Write a Successful NIH Grant. Otto O. Yang. (New York: Kluwer Academic, 2005), pp. 55-57;Tables, Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Lunsford, Andrea A. and Robert Connors. The St. Martin's Handbook. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989; What To Know About The Purpose And Format Of A Research Paper Appendix. LoyolaCollegeCulion.com.

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