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TCRSF Research Papers

Students are encouraged to participate in both the research paper competition and the project competition. They may use the same research for both competitions – and it is recommended that the student has a printed copy of their research paper at their project exhibit for the project judges to see.

JSHS recommends the following outline for research papers:

  1. The title page must include the title, the student's name, the student's school, grade and age, category, and advisor's name.
  2. Acknowledgement of major assistance received
  3. Abstract
  4. Table of contents
  5. If applicable, statement that "research involving non-human vertebrates or human subjects was conducted under the supervision of an experienced teacher or researcher and followed state and federal regulatory guidance applicable to the human and ethical conduct of such research"
  6. Introduction
  7. Objective or question – recognition of the implications or importance of the problem - and your hypothesis
  8. Materials and methods (show control of variables, innovative technique, systematic development of procedures, design experiment to obtain meaningful results)
  9. Results (data or findings, including analysis, precision, accuracy, recognition of sources of error)
  10. Discussion and conclusions (relate back to hypothesis supported or not)
  11. Further ideas – new questions raised, ideas about refining the study or about increasing precision/accuracy
  12. References, or literature cited
  13. and Appendices (if necessary)

TCRSF will allow either individual OR team papers. Students may enter both a paper and a project on the same work. All papers must comply with JSHS rules & guidelines. The research paper competition is available for all students in grades 6-12. No library research only papers are accepted. Research papers need to have library research, but also must include a related student experiment and results, or an engineering design / computer program including testing the design or program. Research papers entered in TCRSF may include pictures/photos in them as long as the total file size of the entire research paper (including title page through to the last Appendix) is no more than 1.8 MB in size. TCRSF, Minnesota state and JSHS limit the paper to no more than 20 pages including appendices (not counting title page, an abstract page, or a table of contents).

TCRSF has two age divisions for the Research Paper Competition. Grades 6-8 compete in the middle school division and grades 9-12 compete in the high school division. Although some middle schools include grade 9, all grade 9 students compete in the high school (grades 9-12) division.

The paper categories are:

The paper competition does not require the ISEF paperwork required for the project exhibit competition, but it is expected that the same safety protocols and supervision are followed by the student. The research paper may only include the research done by the student, and may not include work done by others such as a group in a lab. Multi-year work done by the student however is allowed, unlike the project exhibit competition which is one year's work only.

All research papers in both divisions (middle & high school) will be read and scored by judges online. Please review the research paper judges score sheet / grading rubric before you submit your research paper to be sure that you have covered everything that the judges are looking for in your paper. After research paper judging is completed, but before the project fair, students will receive judge comments from TCRSF by logging in to their student account once the comments are released. Students will not receive scores, but will receive their ribbon earned and any additional awards as well as to be informed whether or not they have advanced to the next level of competition at the project and paper awards program of the fair, if in person. They will be mailed if the project fair is virtual.

Winners in grades 9-12 advance to the JSHS (Junior Science & Humanities Symposium) North Central Region. (If they win with both their project and their paper, they will be able to compete in BOTH competitions at state.) All students who advance with their research paper present their paper orally to a panel of judges, typically using a PowerPoint presentation.

All students MUST PRACTICE their paper orally BEFORE competing at the next level – and should review the judge scoring sheet / grading rubric to be sure that you are covering everything that the judges are looking for in your presentation. NOTE: other smaller regional fairs have had oral competitions for their students at the school and regional level, so by symposium or state, Twin Cities students would be at a severe disadvantage UNLESS the student practices the oral presentation with a Power Point (or slides or overhead projector transparencies) in front of other people. It is preferred that the student present to adults with a science background, but the student may also present to a class at school, or to a panel of teachers from the school, or to their parent(s) or relatives. The research paper competition at TCRSF will be based solely on the merit of the research paper readings and judged according to the grading rubric and adherence to the rules for the paper competition and safety rules similar to ISEF project safety rules.

Use this as a guideline for your oral presentation required before the next level of competition. (Verify the presentation time allowed at state on the state website.)

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